GARDENING: Now is a great time to plant shrubs, trees

By Jeanette Castanon

The colder weather usually leads people to think of plants dying. You usually don’t think to start planting during this time. But the months from September through December are optimal for planting shrubs and trees.

Plant roots grow anytime that the soil temperature is 40 degrees or higher which is possible in the winter months in West Texas.

Plants with a root ball such as shrubs will have lots of time to recover from transplanting in the cooler fall temperatures before the spring heat hits. Keep in mind that bare rooted plants such as roses need to be planted in the late winter when they are dormant to optimize their chances of survival. Planting in the cooler months gives the plants roots time to grow and establish so the plant can thrive and take full advantage of the spring.

The months from September through December are optimal for planting shrubs and trees. (Courtesy Photo)

When planting your transplants, it is important to dig the hole large enough so that the root system has at least six inches of space on all sides. The root ball should rest on solid soil foundation so do not dig the hole deeper than the root ball.

Plant your tree in an elevated area for optimal drainage. Handle the tree by the root ball not the trunk, if the root ball collapses that may lead to plant death.

Make sure to soak the soil well to help the soil settle and reduce air pockets. Make sure not to overwater your tree, a good watering every 7-10 days should be good enough.

Also make sure to add mulch around the tree avoiding the area up against the bark. The mulch will serve to regulate the soil temperature, conserve soil moisture as well as reduce weeds.

For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland, email [email protected] or visit or