The best time to plant trees in Louisiana is from November through early December. During that time, the soil is still warm which encourages vigorous root growth, and trees will have several months to get established before next summer’s heat. Planting at this time is especially beneficial for balled-and-burlapped trees because they lose so much of their root system when they are extracted from the ground. Here are some points you need to consider:
• Select a tree that will mature at the appropriate size. I cannot stress this too much. Generally, small trees are those that grow from 15 feet to 25 feet tall, medium-sized trees grow from 30 feet to 55 feet tall and large trees are those that grow 60 feet or taller.
• Think about the purpose of the tree and why you feel it is needed. This will help you determine what characteristics the tree should have–such as its shape, size and rate of growth, type of flowers, attractive berries, brightly colored fall foliage or unusual bark.
• Decide if you want a tree that retains its foliage year-round (evergreen) or loses its leaves in the winter (deciduous).
• Choose trees that are well adapted to our growing conditions. A number of northern species of beech, maple, conifers and others you might see in catalogs are not suitable for our area.
• Check the location of overhead power lines, and if you must plant under them, use small, low-growing trees. Also consider underground water lines and septic tanks. Don’t forget walks, driveways and paved surfaces that may be damaged by the roots of large trees. Locate large trees at least 15 feet away from your house or any paved surfaces.
• Water a newly planted or transplanted tree whenever the weather is dry. This is the single most important thing you can do to ensure its survival, especially the first summer after planting.
Enjoy all the colors of the fall season and plant a tree!