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Fall planting is a great idea for most trees in any area, many considering it the best time to plant trees. Just within the last few years nurseries have been pushing fall sales for this reason but mostly to get rid of stock that has been picked over and is not in good condition. (at Davidsan’s no matter when you buy you will not get substandard trees … I don’t see any time of year a good time to sell trees that are not of great quality and value) .The fall season gives larger and disreputable nurseries a second season of sales and a chance to unload sub substandard trees that haven’t sold  and not either have inventory them or throw them away. As long as you aware of these other nursery’s practices you should find fall to be ideal planting time. A lot of times you can get good fall pricing but at a cost of poor quality and unhealthy trees …

I have come to believe fall planting is fine for Japanese Maples too although I personally prefer spring . but that now is just a personal preference. I will say that planting small young trees in fall is still NOT advisable in northern areas or other areas either prone to cold weather or critters Most will do okay but there is a difference in survival with fall planted smaller JMs than those same JMs planted in spring. Its up to you if you want to risk it … the difference in death rate with larger trees with developed root systems well mulched and protected is minuscule. Again this is only for larger JMs 5 gal and larger… all bets are off for smaller JMs where I still believe spring planting is best . Of course you can always keep smaller JMs potted thru winter in an unheated insulated garage and plant out in spring .  For larger trees most of the damage seems to be bark split from southern exposure to bright winter sun… either placement where that sun does no damage or using plastic tree guards (be sure to remove early spring!!) can keep that from happening .. Bark split comes from winter sun warming the tree sap rising then freezing and popping the bark at night if enough bark splits it will die in spring…, Over the years I have lost very few fall planted trees and almost 100% from this problem …just coming out of pots into the ground .. But with the added precaution of protecting the trunk of fall planted trees that will get direct south sun I am now  comfortable with fall planting… and for those in zone 6 or warmer there is no problem with fall planting at all.  If you want to fall plant JMs I am now convinced fall planting is just fine (larger JMs only)…with the added note that you may want to consider using  trunk protection. As long as you buy from a quality nursery like Davidsan’s fall purchasing is just fine for JMs with the above caveats.

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