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How to plant the right tree in the
right place at the right time!

by Jonas Green

(with additional tips courtesy of NES, the Nashville Electric Company)

There’s more to be said about planting a tree than just buying it, and sticking it in the ground. Things you should take into consideration include the type of tree you plan to plant, the part of the country you live in, and the best time of year to plant that particular tree.

When to Plant Trees?

The first thing you should find out is the USDA hardiness zone where you live. If you are located in Zones 3 through 10, which go from colder to warmer as the number goes up, should have few problems growing trees and have many varieties to choose from.
For best results, the first thing you should know is what type of tree you have in mind. There are only two types of trees that you are likely to desire:

They are Evergreen  and Deciduous. An Evergreen tree is always green, like a Fir or a Pine tree, while a Deciduous tree’s leaves changes color as the weather gets cooler, followed by the tree losing all its leaves when Winter arrives.

When to Plant a Tree that is Evergreen:
With an Evergreen tree you have more options as to when to plant.  An Evergreen tree can be planted earlier in the fall and later in the spring, as they are more heat and drought tolerant than the Deciduous varieties. If the weather in early June brings hot weather, try to plant those Evergreens earlier in the spring. Still, you should avoid planting them when it's hot. Hold off until later in the fall if it is still hot in your region in late September.
When to Plant a Tree that is Deciduous:
The term Deciduous refers to a tree that drops its leaves at the end of the season. It is more obvious when to plant a tree that is deciduous. Autumn signals that they are entering dormancy with the dropping of their leaves.  In the spring the emergence of new buds signals that they are leaving dormancy.
What Dormancy Means to a Tree:
Planting a tree when it is dormant is perhaps the best choice of all, since that's when handling them is least disruptive to the trees. When does a tree go dormant? In the Northern Hemisphere, trees begin to enter dormancy at some point in the autumn and begin to leave it at some point in the spring.
Additional Considerations:

In colder climates, winter brings desert conditions of a sort and lack of water for a just-planted tree’s root systems can be a problem. Although you may not think of winter as a dry time remember that, even with all the snow the moisture from the snow can't get to the roots until the snow melts and the ground thaws. That is why watering  your trees properly in fall is so important, whether you have opted for planting them in the autumn or in late winter or early spring.

Spring is a great time to plant new trees on your property. Just remember to be smart about where you plant, especially near power lines. It may be hard to pre-visualize the height and spread of a tree at its maturity. That’s why NES has created a list of power line friendly trees that are safe to plant near overhead lines. These trees reach an average height of 20 feet and usually will not require pruning to reduce height. (FYI: If there’s a dispute between you and the power company over the distance of a tree from the power line, no matter how beautiful and healthy the tree might be, you will lose and they will CUT IT DOWN. Be careful what you plant!)

Trees on this list are safe to plant near power lines. Just remember, smart digging means calling your power company, or in some areas at 811 before you dig.

What you can’t see can hurt you, so before you reach for a shovel, reach for the phone. To learn more, visit

For more helpful tips, watch the video “Right Tree. Right Place.” at

Recommended trees include:

Red Buckeye
planting a tree

Adirondack Crabapple
Narragansett Crabapple

Flame Amur

Stellar Pink
Flowering Hybrids
Chinese or Kousa

Japanese Flowering Apricot

Flowering Cherries

Chinese Fringetree

Jane Magnolia

Greenleaf American
Warren Red

Crape Myrtles

Blackhaw Plum Leaf Viburnum

Forest Pansy
Oklahoma / Issue 147 - September 2018
Turnpage Blk

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