Can I Plant Trees in the Fall in New Mexico?
If you spent the entire summer in the garden like the grasshopper from Aesop’s Fables, we don’t blame you. And we bring good news, planing season is not over!
If you’re wondering whether or not you can plant trees in New Mexico in the fall, the answer is yes! New Mexico also has USDA hardiness zones ranging from 4b to 8b. For certain plants and trees, this is the perfect climate to thrive. However, before you dig up your backyard, there are a few things you should pay attention to.
Know When Fall is Starting
It’s a good idea to know when fall starts. Many people believe the first sign is the falling leaves but that is not always a good predictor. Officially, fall begins late in September, following the autumnal equinox. Once fall begins, you should try to plant your trees at least six weeks ahead of the first hard frost.
Based on this, late September to early or even mid-November is a good time to plant trees in fall. Avoid exceeding this timeline and don’t plant too late. Mild fall weather might fool you and winter could come and kill your plants if they didn’t get enough time to establish themselves before the colder weather.
Pay Attention to Watering
During fall, trees need to start preparing for the cold months ahead. If you’re experiencing rainfall, this is a good time to plant your trees. This allows the tree to establish roots and successfully grow. After rainfall, the cooler weather usually stabilizes the temperature which encourages the roots of the trees to grow as well.
Apart from the rainfall, you should also slowly cut down on how much you water the trees. By October, you should be watering your trees once every after every two weeks. Once the first frost has passed, by November, you should be practicing a winter watering schedule.
Pruning and trimming of the tree leaves and branches are necessary but not always (we go into depth into this idea in another blog post). While spring and summer are good times for this, fall pruning should not be done. Apart from trimming dead wood, you shouldn’t try to trim the bark or leaves.
Trimming and pruning are done to stimulate the growth of new tissue. This kind of growth can be extremely vulnerable in fall. The colder weather will cause damage to the new growth and also jeopardize the health of the tree.
Pick Out Healthy, Container Trees
Planting during the fall season is ideal for container trees and you will largely find these in gardening supply stores. When picking trees to plant during fall, you should look for healthy trees. Weaker, younger trees can be vulnerable to the frost and will require extra care and a lot of attention to make it through the colder winter temperatures.
Also, remember your chosen tree will not show a lot of growth during fall and winter. At this point, the growth will be limited to the root structure. Once early spring starts, your tree will start to blossom and will look amazing.
With these tips, you can easily plant trees in New Mexico in the fall without any worries.