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When a tree should ideally be planted in the garden depends on various factors. The winter hardiness zone in your region, the root system of the purchased goods and the tree type are decisive.

Observe winter hardiness zones

The planting time depends largely on the climatic regions. These are influenced by the geographical location and the height above sea level as well as the weather conditions. Germany is divided into hardiness zones, which give you important information about when the trees are planted:

  • Zone 6a (-23.3 to -20.5 degrees): southern Baden-Württemberg
  • Zone 6b (-20.4 to -17.8 degrees): Eastern Bavaria, southern Baden-Württemberg and eastern Thuringia
  • Zone 7a (-17.7 to -15 degrees): eastern Baden-Württemberg, large parts of Saxony
  • Zone 7b (-14.9 to -12.3 degrees): large parts of Germany, deviating in some places
  • Zone 8a (-12.2 to -9.4 degrees): Coasts of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, Rügen

transferred planting time

For each species there are recommendations as to which zone it thrives in. Accordingly, you can determine how hardy or frost-prone a tree is. Trees with less winter hardiness should tend to be planted in the spring so that they have enough time to develop roots before winter. You can plant frost-resistant species in autumn or on frost-free days in winter.

Notice: Trees with less winter hardiness should be protected from frost and direct sunlight in the first winter.

Root system affects planting time

Container plants grow in pots and are offered in this form in garden centers. They prove to be robust as they have been able to develop a complete root system without disturbance and damage. Their planting period is accordingly the widest. Larger trees are uprooted before sale so that the root ball is surrounded by soil. A wire mesh ensures that the soil adheres to the root system. They have enough fine roots and grow quickly, so that they sprout successfully even if planted late in spring in the following growth period. Bare-root trees are sold without a substrate and should be planted directly in the ground without intermediate storage. They first have to develop a network of fine roots, which is why the period of planting is limited compared to root ball trees. The ideal planting times look like this:

  • Container goods: Planting time all year round, except for periods of severe frost
  • Root ball trees: ideal time in autumn, possible from September to early May
  • bare-root trees: ideal time between October and November, planting possible until the beginning of March

Tip: Bare-rooted trees are already cleared in autumn and then stored in cold stores. You should buy and plant such specimens in autumn, because then they are particularly fresh and vital.

exceptions and errors

Despite the general recommendations, the timing of planting can vary depending on the species. Important factors that you also have to consider are the shape of the leaves of the tree and their height when planted out.

No spring planting of deciduous trees

These deciduous trees sprout again in spring. They invest all of their energy in leaf growth so that they can produce enough energy from solar radiation in the coming growing season. If you only plant these species after winter, root development will suffer. Autumn planting is better, in which the wood concentrates exclusively on the development of a lush root system.

Do not plant conifers too late

This group of trees differs from the related deciduous trees in having specialized leaves. Conifers develop greatly reduced leaf surfaces that are in the form of needles. These also remain in winter and evaporate water all year round. If the tree did not have enough time to grow before winter, the underdeveloped root system cannot maintain the water balance. As a result, the plant dries up. The ideal planting time for conifers is the beginning of September.

Notice: Early autumn planting applies not only to conifers. Evergreen species also evaporate water through their leaf surfaces in winter and should be planted out by September at the latest.

No autumn planting for large trees

Although larger shrubs also grow well in autumn, you should plant specimens that are more than two meters high in the garden in spring. The reason for this is an increased risk of damage that can occur in winter. Since root development takes time, the tree does not yet have sufficient stability in the year of planting. It is vulnerable to autumn and winter storms and can tip over despite the use of tree stakes. Freshly planted specimens tend to develop stress cracks. These often arise in winter due to temperature differences, because the bark heats up unevenly when exposed to sunlight in the cold season.

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