By Dirk Coburn, Horticultural Specialist at Weston Nurseries
“I shouldn’t plant this in summer, right?” “I’m not sure I can plant these before the summer.” From time to time the staff at Weston Nurseries hear variants of a common, but misplaced, concern. There is a persistent myth that summer is a bad time for planting. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I know this from experience; some of the best trees and shrubs in my landscape were planted in July or August.
A plant that has been grown in a pot, or that has been harvested and its roots wrapped in burlap, can be planted any time between the spring thaw and a few weeks before the winter freeze.
Midsummer gets a bum rap for planting, and I think I know why. If a homeowner plants new plants in midsummer, and then goes away for two weeks or more without arranging for plant care, there is a fair risk of failure.
But that risk has much less to do with the time of planting than with the needs of any plant to receive appropriate care until it is established. Plants that are newly planted in the spring are just as vulnerable to spending two weeks in July without care as are plants that are planted in early July.
Basically, it comes down to watering: deeply enough, frequently enough, and not TOO frequently. For trees and shrubs, the guidelines can be found on Weston Nurseries’ website here: Watering Guidelines.
A plant that receives appropriate care following a midsummer planting starts growing new roots quicker than those planted in the cooler spring. It also has more time to become established before it has to survive its first winter, and can actually thrive sooner than one planted in the fall.
So don’t fear the midsummer!