Myth: You can’t plant Trees, Shrubs or Perennials all Summer long…
Fact: YES you can plant Trees, Shrubs and Perennials in the summer!
Planting trees, shrubs or perennials in spring or fall has long been a rule of thumb for many gardeners. This is built on the belief that when stressed, new trees/plants are quickly depleted of strength, which they need to survive winter and grow healthy and strong next spring.
But a rising temperature doesn’t mean you can’t continue to fill the empty spaces in your garden with plants. Although, there are some things you should not plant in summer, such as a bare-root, a newly dug or newly divided plant. When you dig up all or part of a plant that has already established its’ roots in the ground, no matter how carefully you do so, you will ultimately destroy a portion of the roots.
Such a plant is also actively growing and full of foliage. When you re-plant it in its new location during summers’ heat, the shock can be fatal. However,there is one exception to this rule. In summer, you can plant trees that are growing in plastic containers, because containerized trees/plants already have a healthy root system, so they are less likely to experience transplant shock.
It’s all in the food…
Plant food (fertilizer) when planting in summer – ‘less is more’… Normally we are huge fans of lots of plant
food. We at T&T are huge fans of ‘transplant’ foods; we like Growers 10-52-17 “Rose and Strawberry”
plant food. A typical plant food diet for spring planted plants would be a transplant food to get the
roots going followed by regular doses of a more balanced plant food to push the top of the plant to
grow. BUT, in late summer plantings we tend to get more conservative with plant food and here is why: we
do want root growth! But we do NOT want to push too much ‘top’ growth. Said differently, we do not
want the plants to be too ‘tender’ as they head into winter.
Our Summer Solution is simple – only use a ‘transplant’ plant food as you plant your summer planted
shrubs/trees. Most ‘transplant’ foods are low first number and high middle number – low nitrogen and
high phosphorous – so we avoid issue of too much nitrogen.
Use the transplant food when you plant and then stop feeding by mid August until next spring.