Fruit Tree Care: Fall Planting

At Stark Bro's, we want to give you, the grower, every opportunity to succeed. Shipping trees in the fall is one. Here are some advantages to fall planting.

2010: A few days ago, I stepped outside to experience a cooler morning. Everything felt crisp — fall was in the air. To those of us who love nature, that annual experience isn't defined by the calendar, it's a feeling. Oh, how I love it!

Fall is my personal favorite time of year. Here at the nursery, budding time is concluding, apples are ripening, and the big "tree harvest" is just around the corner. Everything here at Stark Bro's is nearing fruition. In football terms, we're on the 10-yard line! And, because we grow our own trees, they are available to you for fall planting.

Tips for Planting in the Fall

When it comes to planting in the fall, be mindful of your hardiness zone prior to planting. If your ground freezes by late-October or November, my advice is: plant in the spring.

Advantages of Fall Planting

Stark Trees Autumn

Growers in warmer climates have a huge opportunity by planting in the fall.

Roots are able to settle in. This helps trees gain some early establishment and wake up with nature the following spring. Fall planting offers a head start that leads to heartier growth and better fruiting.

Less water, less stress. If a tree is too far advanced (big and lush) at planting time, or if it's planted in at a time of year known for high heat, it will respond by giving off moisture. This process, called transpiration, can impair a new tree's performance by increasing its need for water that may not be readily available. Thanks to cooler temperatures, trees planted in the fall require less water than those planted in late spring and summer.

My favorite time to plant is fall – when plants and trees are still dormant – to reduce their need for water. This practice works best for both me (growing millions of trees) and you (planting trees in your backyard). Here at Stark Bro's, we want to give you, the grower, every advantage to succeed. Having fruit trees – as well as other plants and trees – available in the fall is one of them. I hope you're enjoying these beautiful fall days as much as we are!

If you are a grower and you choose to benefit from the advantages of fall planting, please make sure you use tree guards on your trees' trunks to avoid depredation of rabbits and rodents, as well as winter-sun injury to the bark like scald, cracking, and splitting. Trees are vulnerable to these problems in the fall, winter, and even early spring.

— Elmer Kidd, Stark Bro's Chief Production Officer (retired)