A Time to Plant

Posted: December 21, 2011

There is an optimum time to plant and that time may be earlier in the season than you think. Most perennial plants do best if planted in the early spring as compared to later spring.

Fruit trees, for example, grow better in our area when they are planted in March or early April as opposed to May or June. The young plants need time for the root system to start to regrow and establish before the warm, drier weather arrives. If the weather is still too cold for new foliage growth, the plant knows that and the above the soil parts of the plant will remain dormant until to weather is favorable.

In order to have everything ready for planting next spring, there are some activities we should be doing now. The most important is to make sure your soil pH is in the range that your plant will need to thrive. Once you learn what pH your plant prefers, you will then need to get a soil test to find out where your soil’s pH is currently. Soil tests can be purchased at your county Extension office for $9.00.  If the pH needs to be higher, add lime. If the pH needs to be lower, add a product containing sulfur. The soil test will tell you how much you need to add.

If you are planting a tree it is a good idea to stake the tree for a year or two. Once the tree has established it will no longer need the added support. The exception is dwarf fruit trees. Dwarf fruit trees will need additional support all of its life.

For more information contact your local extension office. In Lackawanna County call 570-963-6842 or email

John Esslinger, Extension Educator
Penn State Cooperative Extension