If you have been thinking of planting trees either on a large scale or in your backyard, it is important to keep in mind the season you are in. Trees have different growth rates in different seasons and the health of the tree you have planted will heavily depend on when you plant them. You don’t want to put so much effort and time into planting trees only to find out that they won’t be able to survive. Let’s take a look at how seasons affect tree growth.
When do trees grow the most? In summer, spring or autumn? In short, trees grow the most during the summer because during that period trees have more access to sunlight. Light is vital for photosynthesis, so longer days equal more food to grow.
On the other hand, the best time to plant trees to maximize growth would be around spring so that they have time to grow during the summer. The worst time would be to plant just before winter.
DO TREES GROW FASTER IN THE SPRING OR THE SUMMER
If you are looking for a clear answer to the question, I hate to break it to you that it depends on a lot of factors. The species of trees you are dealing with combined with the area of the world you are in will play a huge role.
If we don’t take into account the evergreen forests near tropical areas, it is fair to say that trees grow the most during summers and late spring. In most areas of the world where there is a clear demarcation of winter and summer months, trees tend to grow faster during the summer.
You might have noticed that trees grow leaves during the spring season, but this is not the only indication of tree growth. What you don’t see is the root growth. According to the Davey Institute, a large number of tree varieties tend to grow the most during late spring and early summer.
Although some trees have different growth cycles. Some species even have a small burst in growth during the fall season.
WHY DO TREES GROW FASTER IN SUMMER?
Let’s take a look at what are the things responsible for tree growth. We have all studied this as kids. First and foremost, trees need sunlight for photosynthesis, water, and nutrients.
During the months of spring and summer, the days become longer than the night. This translates to more intense and longer exposure to sunlight. This means that the trees are able to make food for a longer duration – more food means more growth.
Another factor is water. Although you might water the plants, the natural showers which occur during spring and summer help in naturally revitalizing the soil.
Another factor is nutrients. Something very natural and beautiful occurs during spring. Trees tend to shed their leaves during autumn. When spring arrives, the forest bed starts to defrost and degrade. This degradation means that the forest bed is being converted to manure and soil and this soil is very rich in nutrients.
All of these factors come together to boost the growth of trees. This is the reason that late spring and early summers is the fastest growth rate for a majority of trees.
DO TREES GROW IN THE WINTER?
To answer this question, let’s take a look at what trees do to survive in the winter. To begin with, we have to consider two scenarios. One, in regions where winter temperatures go below or near freezing point. And second, where winter temperatures even though cold are above 45-50 F.
In regions where temperatures are above 45-50F, the roots and the trees can still produce food and grow. Although the rate of growth is very slow. It’s important to note here that not all varieties of trees can grow, some still go into a type of hibernation. You can even plant some varieties of trees during winter if the temperature is consistently above 50F.
On the other hand, if the temperature is below or near the freezing point, the trees must go into a type of hibernation. Trees do this to conserve energy as they cannot produce more of it during winter. This is because of lack of sunlight during winter and lack of water as the ground will likely freeze.
So how do trees become dormant? There are two ways they accomplish it. First, by shedding their leaves to avoid evaporation of water through leaves. Evergreen trees on the other hand conserve water due to the shape of their leaves. As their leaves are needle like they don’t have a lot of surface area to facilitate evaporation.
These evergreen trees also have a layer of wax on their leaves which further prevent any evaporation from taking place.
Trees can grow during the winter, but only in regions where the average temperature is above freezing. In areas where the temperature falls below freezing, the trees go into a hibernation so to speak. Hibernation is necessary for trees to conserve energy since they can not produce more of it during the winter.
WHEN SHOULD I PLANT TREES FOR OPTIMUM GROWTH?
If you live in a tropical area, you can pretty much plant trees all year round. The only thing you have to keep in mind is the rainy season. The planting time becomes much more important when you are in temperate or colder regions.
As I have said before, the best time to plant saplings or even seeds would be early spring. The trees will have ample time to produce leaves and grow their roots to take advantage of longer sunlight hours during peak summer.
If you would like to know how many trees can you plant per acre, read this article as well.
If you are living in states such as Florida or New Mexico you can even plant the trees during the start of winter as the temperature doesn’t go as low. One way to optimize tree growth during winter is to spread a layer of mulch or leaves on the ground. This sort of creates an insulation layer for the ground. Making sure that the temperature below ground stays warm.
WHAT MAKES TREES GROW FAST
I’ll again refer to the resources needed by trees in the first place to grow – sunlight, water and nutrients. If all of these resources are available to the tree, their rate of growth will automatically increase.
The reason why trees grow faster during summer is because of the abundance of these resources. But that’s not all, sometimes even with these resources, the speed of growth might not be fast. This is because of how these resources are delivered to the trees. I will address this factor in the next section.
Another important factor that is often overlooked is appropriate plant selection. Look around you, talk to a professional about which trees will grow the best in your area. If you try to plant trees that don’t grow naturally in your area, chances are that their growth will be slower.
Some trees are naturally fast growers while some are slower. For example, fast-growing trees can grow up to 25 inches per year. On the other hand, slow-growing trees might only grow 12 inches, if that.
CAN YOU SPEED UP TREE GROWTH
Continuing from the previous section, you can speed up a tree’s growth by making it easier for the tree to access the needed resources. A lot of people become too lazy to plant trees in their backyards or gardens because of the perception that trees take a long time to grow. You might want to plant trees for their aesthetic value, or their shade, or their fruiting ability.
It will take years for trees to reach the point where they can deliver any of these properties. One thing you can do is to choose a species that has a naturally faster growth rate. Or you can increase their growth rate by taking a few steps.
Let’s start with water. You probably know that water is necessary for growth, but sometimes conventional methods of watering are not adequate. If you are just watering the top layer of the soil, it might not be able to reach the roots. You also end up wasting a lot of water this way.
What a lot of professionals suggest is to use the dripping method. What you need to do is to deliver the water directly near the roots, slowly, drop by drop. This way you can conserve a lot of water while being much more efficient.
The next thing you can do is to use mulch. Mulch consists of leaves and other natural materials which act as natural insulation for the soil. They also contribute to the nutrients in the soil over time. Mulch helps prevent water evaporation and protects the soil and trees from extreme heat and cold.
Another factor to keep in mind is competition, yes, you read that correctly. You have to realize that soil has a limited amount of nutrition and space. If you plant your trees too close to one another, they will keep fighting for the same limited resources. Make sure that the trees you are planting are not too crowded.
Talking about nutrients, you have to realize the different needs of different species. Not all trees are the same and similarly, you can’t use the same fertilizers or nutrients for everything. Consult a professional about the needs of the specific species you are dealing with. Also, keep in mind that even for the same species the needs might be different depending on the region you are in.
You can determine which fertilizers to use by getting your soil composition tested. One of the most essential resources is phosphorus, for example, this helps the plant create chlorophyll.
The next step is protection. If you have a small young tree, they can be prone to animals and strong winds. You can create temporary protection shelters around them to give them a better chance of survival.
All in all, If you are in areas where the winters are not that harsh, basically with temperatures above 50F, you can increase the growth rate without any harm. The first step is to provide adequate water. The next step is to use mulch, this will protect the plant from the cold while locking in moisture.
If the temperatures go below 50F you shouldn’t rush the growth rate as it can reduce the overall life of the tree.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Planting a tree takes a lot of effort and time. You don’t want to put in so much effort only to witness your tree not grow. It is very important to have all your doubts cleared before you plant. Below I tried to address some of the most common doubts that people have.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT YOUR TREE?
As I have stated before, the best time in most regions of the world would be early to late spring.
HOW TO ENSURE THAT YOUR TREE IS GETTING ALL THE NUTIRENTS?
I wouldn’t recommend using the generic fertilizer available out there. Every soil has specific needs. Get your soil tested. You will get to know what nutrients your soil is lacking and other information like the Ph level.
HOW TO PROTECT THE TREE FROM WILD ANIMALS?
A lot of people put up cylindrical plastic or metal cages around the trees. This way strong winds and wild animals don’t disturb the trees. You can also try putting up fences around your garden.
SHOULD YOU TRY TO STOP THE TREE FROM BECOMING DORMANT?
Some people try to increase the growth rate by disturbing the tree’s dormancy cycle. You have to realize that trees do this for a reason. They have a natural growth rate. If you try to disturb it, it will affect its overall life and quality.
To sum it all up, there are some seasons which favor the growth rate of trees. The rate depends on the availability of water, sunlight, and nutrients that are available during the summer. You can easily increase your tree’s growth rate by making sure that it is getting all the necessary nutrients the right way.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.