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Planting Trees and Shrubs in Fall: A Recipe for Success

In a bid to foster long-term, healthy growth, the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department's (APRD) Urban Forestry Land Manager, Wendy Pappas, has shared valuable insights on the optimal timing and placement for introducing trees and shrubs to your garden.

"Right Plant, Right Place" is the golden rule before delving into the "when" of planting. Where you plant your tree or shrub significantly influences its overall health. An error many make is planting a shade-loving tree in a sun-drenched area, necessitating uprooting and relocation. Conversely, placing a sun-loving tree in the shade spells trouble. Wendy advises a thorough assessment of your yard's sunlight exposure throughout the day to match your plants' needs. If a plant requires full sun, ensure it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight, while those requiring shade can manage with filtered sun.

Taking note of your hardiness zone is vital. The Plant Hardiness Zone Map aids in determining which plants are best suited to your location based on minimum winter temperatures. Your hardiness zone will guide your plant choices.

Structures play a role too. Wendy cautions against letting plants outgrow their space, which can lead to shrubs swallowing homes or trees growing under overhangs. Researching the potential size of your plants is crucial. Plants may start small but expand rapidly as they mature.

Utilities, often overlooked, need consideration. Planting trees near power lines can lead to future problems. If it's unavoidable, select trees or shrubs that won't reach the lines. Additionally, it's wise to be aware of underground utilities. In the United States, you can call 811 for a dig test service to locate and mark underground lines.

The best time to plant? Fall is the answer. Autumn offers an ideal window for introducing new trees and shrubs. This timing allows the plants to establish sturdy root systems before the scorching summer heat arrives. Wendy emphasizes that the Texas summer can be relentless on plants, making fall the opportune moment to plant, setting them up for success.

As fall takes hold, the call to action is clear: get planting before winter. Your trees and shrubs will thank you for not waiting until spring.

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