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So, you want to plant a tree…now?


Trees line up and wait patiently for SDOT’s Urban Forestry crews to move them to their new homes.


Isn’t spring the best time for planting trees?  It’s a valid question.  For most of the United States it’s true – planting trees and other plants in the spring allows them to take advantage of the typically abundant spring rains and avoid winter damage from heaving when the ground freezes.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, our winters are much milder than the rest of the country.  Most of our precipitation comes during the fall and winter months, and if the ground freezes at all, it doesn’t freeze very deep.  Getting a tree in the ground this time of year allows it to take advantage of the moist soils through the winter and gives it a head start to initiate growth as soon as the first warm days arrive in the spring.  It is actually for these reasons that the City of Seattle shifted its Arbor Day celebration to the fall instead of the typical spring timeframe.

SDOT Urban Forestry plants trees in both the fall and spring.  The trees they plant in the spring are bare root trees, meaning they are delivered without soil around the roots.  These trees are only available in late winter/early spring.  Their lower per-tree cost, shipping cost and ease of handling make them a great option for planting in quantities.  The remaining trees that are planted in the fall are most similar to the trees commonly found at retail nurseries – either balled and burlapped or in plastic containers.

So, if you’ve been thinking about planting a tree, consider planting one now!  (if you haven’t considered planting one…why not?!)

For some helpful tips on tree planting, you can visit our website at: