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Cold and wet weather planting advice

Autumn to spring is the ideal planting time for most trees and shrubs as they are not actively growing and there is likely to be less stress to the plant. However, it is best to avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen ground. It's been wet and it's getting colder so do delay planting if necessary.

Wet conditions

If the ground is waterlogged wait until surface water has drained away before planting, this is likely to be quicker on light soils based on chalk or sand but can be very slow on heavy soils such as clay. Plant roots need aerated soils - total waterlogging can cause fine roots to die off making it less likely for plants to establish well. In addition digging soils in very wet conditions can ruin the structure of the soil making it compacted and harder for roots to penetrate in the future.

Cold conditions

Generally if there is snow on the ground or the ground is frozen for several days it is advisable not to plant. Do not remove pots or containers from the root ball during freezing conditions as the small roots can be damaged.

Storage

Bundles of bare-root plants can be kept in the bags they are supplied in, in a shed or garage for about a week prior to planting, if the delay is longer they are best ‘heeled’ in the soil in their bundles or in a free draining container with compost around the roots. Rootballed plants are best left out of drying, cold winds with straw or hessian over the rootballs. Container grown trees and shrubs are fine in the containers they come in until planting conditions are suitable – just secure them safely where they won’t blow over.

For further details see our previous blogs in the category Cold Weather Planting and Storage