Tree Planting

Fall Shipping Started, are you Ready?

By Sheereen Othman | November 4, 2016

Fall shipping kicked off this week, which means your Arbor Day Foundation trees will be arriving soon, how exciting! A common question we are often asked is why do our trees ship so late? It’s simple really, we wait until the first frost to ensure the trees are dormant. Shipping dormant trees improves their chances of survival. Planting them in the fall also means they’re more likely to stay dormant because weather patterns are more consistent, although climate change really seems to be challenging that theory lately.  Nonetheless, fall planting is often preferred over spring planting because trees have a season to establish their roots, making them hardier to adapt to varying climates.

It’s too Cold, my Trees will die

Snow and cold weather are concerns commonly feared. But again, because trees are dormant these conditions shouldn’t impact the tree. Despite the cold, as long as you’re able to stick a spade in the ground, it’s okay to plant your trees. If you’re still apprehensive read 3 Winter Precautions to Keep You and Your Trees Safe.  There is little care needed during the winter months. In contrast, over-caring for trees can lead to more harm than good to the tree’s health.

We ship our trees out by hardiness zones based off the most optimal time to plant. This means that in the fall, people living in the northern half of the U.S. will receive their trees before those living in the South. Regardless of the outside weather, it’s safe to plant your trees.

Read Tree Care Tips for Fall Planting for advice on growing healthy trees.

The Ground is Frozen

We encourage our members to pre-dig holes at the sites they plan to plant before the trees arrive. This guarantees that trees will be ready to be planted as soon as they arrive. It’s also easier on you to dig holes before the season changes and the ground freezes. Snow on the ground does not mean your soil is frozen. In order to freeze, your day time low temperature has to stay below 32°F for 4-6 weeks.


Staff at the Arbor Day Farm nursery prepare trees to be shipped.

What to Expect

Each tree order comes with step-by-step planting instructions on planting your trees. Our membership trees (the 10 free trees you received with a donation) are small seedlings extending less than 12 inches in length. They will be color coded with a guide to help you identify which tree is which. Nursery trees will have tags on the branches to help you identify them. Your trees are living organisms and should be planted as soon as possible. If you have questions about your order or need more guidance, call our member service department at 1-888-448-7337.

Happy Planting!

Curious to know what the most popular evergreens shipped last fall were? Catch them here.

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