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When is the Best Time to Plant a Tree?

When it comes to planting trees in a residential landscape in Canterbury, New Zealand, the list of its positive outcomes is endless. They’ll make your property look amazing over the years, increase its value, give wildlife a place to live and food to eat, and purify the air. Most importantly, we believe it’s a great natural mood lifter too.

However, new trees take some time to develop a stronger root system and adjust to their new location. But when they grow into beautiful green tall trees they’d eventually need protection and care, through tree trimming, pruning and more. If you’re in Rangiora and need help with tree care, feel free to contact us.

Besides, the manner in which a tree is planted can have a direct link to the overall health of its surroundings, too, in the years to come. Continue reading this blog post if you’re interested in finding out when’s the best time to plant trees in Canterbury.

The best time to plant trees

There are a variety of factors that go into determining the best time to plant trees in Canterbury, New Zealand, including your geographic location, the species of tree you want to grow, and the amount of time you are ready to devote to a newly-planted tree.


When it comes to planting new trees and plants based on geographical location, we advise that you follow this guide to expect the best results. For example, carrying out the major planting activities between the months of April and September/October is proven to be very effective for most gardeners. This gives the roots a chance to get established before the plants start growing more quickly and before the stresses of the hot, dry summer months kick in.

Planting new trees in sandier soils (eg., coastal areas) should be done in the fall season, but make sure those plants aren’t sensitive to frost. On the other side, places that are further inland experience dry spring and summer you can place a layer of bog moss (or peat moss) under the root ball for better water retention.

However, these details only hold true for places where there’s a consistent natural supply of rain. In dry climates, one needs to make sure that irrigation is made possible evenly, for a successful long-term planting process. We recommend that you speak to a professional arborist, who offers tree trimming, pruning and other tree care services, to fill you up with important about planting in dry locations. If you’re in Rangiora, Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Waimakariri District and North Canterbury then feel free to contact us.

The type or species of trees planted

There are 2 kinds of trees:

  • Coniferous trees, and
  • Deciduous trees.

In the case of deciduous trees, the leaves start falling off in autumn. Deciduous trees include maple, birch, etc.

Evergreens or coniferous trees are the ones that retain their scale-like leaves throughout the colder months of the year.

Both these tree types need the same kind of attention during their growth stage; however, the conifers don’t lose their leaves or become dormant during the winter.

Your time

Truly speaking, in our professional experience, we believe that the best time to plant trees is when you really have the time to care for newly planted trees. If you don’t have that, you shouldn’t go for it. Don’t become a plant parent if you don’t have the time to care for your plant babies! From knowing how to use the hose, and supplying water consistently to making sure that your babies don’t attract pests, you’ve got to do it all.

You can also let a professional arborist (someone who offers tree pruning, tree trimming, and seedling care services) deal with this stuff as well. If you’re in Rangiora, Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Waimakariri District and North Canterbury then you can get in touch with us.

The best time to plant deciduous trees

The best time to plant deciduous trees is either in the spring or the fall.

In the spring, a transplanted deciduous tree has only two jobs: grow its roots and produce leaves (for photosynthesis). A spring-planted deciduous tree will need more water to meet its needs.

On the other hand, the leaves of deciduous trees start falling off in the fall. This gives it more energy to develop its roots, of course with a sufficient supply of watering.

The ideal season for planting evergreen trees

The best time to plant evergreens or any other type of conifers is either early spring or autumn season in New Zealand. This means, between April and early June or September and October.

But if you’re planning to transplant an evergreen, make sure it happens in cloudy or rainy weather. That way it’s much easier for the plants to acclimate to an altered environment. Once planted, make sure that the plant keeps receiving water thoroughly.

Tree planting in the spring

It’s not going to be a brainer by now, but springtime is every seedling’s favourite season. The temperature begins warming up, and now every serious gardener can step out and give focus on their plants. However, there are certain advantages and disadvantages attached to spring planting. They are as follows:


Starting early

When you plant a tree in the spring, the tree gets a great boost for its growth and that lasts around fall because the plant gets to use the climatic conditions through the summer and autumn months to adapt to its new surrounding which subsequently helps develop a strong root system before the winter arrives.


You’ll get your hands on better varieties of plants as most of the nurseries start keeping fresh new stocks this season.


The weather begins to get warmer, while the soil still remains cooler, which is a favourite combination for root growth. Plus, it rains a lot.



Yes, even though spring offers one of the best weather conditions for seedlings, there are certain downsides too, because the weather can become quite unpredictable in certain locations. Planting becomes next to impossible if there’s late-arriving snowfall, a prolonged period of rain, or an early heat wave.


In the first year of being planted, trees focus most of their energy on developing both their root system and foliage, which asks for a great amount of water supply, especially, as spring progresses into summer. If you live in a place with hot, dry summers, you should plant your seedlings during early spring.

Tree planting in the fall

The Fall season is also a suitable month for planting new trees since the weather becomes more pleasant post-summer. However, here are the pros and cons of planting in the fall, too.



In many parts of New Zealand, autumn has lower air temperatures, warmer soil, and increased moisture levels than summer. These are the ideal weather conditions for planting trees.

Root growth

When planted in the fall, deciduous trees are able to focus their energy on developing strong roots because they are not under the extra pressure of producing new top growth.


You may not find a diverse range of tree species as compared to the spring, but there are chances of getting better deals on the saplings. Post-growing season, many garden centres and nurseries bring down the prices to get rid of old stock and save on maintenance costs.



Once again, the weather can either help you or hurt you in a given situation. The tree is at risk of drying out if the temperature begins lowering prematurely before it even has had a chance to start pushing out new roots. This is a serious issue for newly planted evergreen trees, which require consistent moisture to avoid drying out during the winter. Make sure you give yourself at least 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes to plant anything.

Planting a deciduous tree in late fall is possible owing to the tree’s tolerance for a wider range of conditions.

If you need more tips to plant trees during spring and summer or know in detail how to save your seedlings during premature freezing of temperature, then call a professional arborist who offers all basic care, such as tree trimming, pruning, hedging, etc. If you’re in Rangiora, Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Waimakariri District and North Canterbury. then feel free to contact our professionals.

Planting trees during the summer months (December to February)

By now you already know that most landscapers plant trees beginning in early spring and continuing until late autumn, and even sometimes later than that! They need to get them planted as soon as they can, but as home gardeners, we usually have more control over the timing of our tree plantings than they do. Unless you live in a place that experiences relatively mild summers, the summer is not the best time to plant anything.

As a home gardener, if you want to plant a tree during the summer, you should get hold of the ones which come potted in plastic rather than the ones which are balled and burlapped. When compared to a wild tree, the root system of one grown in a plastic pot is very likely to be quite healthy. Therefore, it will have a lower risk of suffering from transplant shock if planted in the summer.

A tree that has been dug up and then wrapped in burlap to keep it together is said to be “balled and burlapped.” This method of harvesting is hard on the tree, and it loses a lot of roots in the process. It is best to plant trees that have been balled and burlapped during the spring or fall.

Remember that newly planted trees need extra watering for the first few weeks and that planting in the summer will give you more work. The combination of hot weather and dry soil can put a lot of stress on a tree, and if you don’t water it on a regular basis, you might find that the leaves dry out or even fall off.

Now that we know the optimal time to plant trees, what plants do you wish to plant this year? Let us know. Also, if your gardens need any tree care services, such as tree trimming, pruning, hedging and other professional services, feel free to contact us. Our experts are available to work in Christchurch, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Waimakariri District and North Canterbury. We’ll be happy to serve you.