What time of year to move a scots pine.
I have 3 Scots pine trees which are approximately 3 to 4 foot tall; they are currently in large pots outdoors and have been for a few years. They were grown from seed and now I wish to plant in the woodland that the seeds came. My question is, at what time of year should I move them and put them in the ground? Are there any special requirements other than removing the large plastic pot beforehand? Thank you for your help in this matter, regards and have a wonderful day. Mark
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Wait to plant until danger of freezing temps or any severe weather has passed, early spring at beginning of the growing season in your area may be ideal, depending on water availability.
Consider how you will water the trees for the first few months or year as they get established and develop a root system. If the planting site is not where you can irrigate, then possibly wait until the beginning of your rainy season.
Have the new planting hole ready and make the move as swiftly and efficiently as you can, and get the trees watered in the new site as soon as possible. Don't let them sit and dry out.
Remove the container without breaking apart the soil root ball, that may mean breaking the pot. Set the root ball in the new planting hole with the soil grade at the same level or slightly above the surrounding soil grade, not too low in the hole. Since the trees have been in the containers for a few years, you may encounter massive circling root growth. Loosen that mass if you can by hand to prevent circling/girdling roots. But if that means cutting a lot of roots, then don't, just plant it that way and hope for the best.
When you backfill the hole around the root ball, use the native soil if reasonably fertile. As you backfill, poke a running hose end down into the loose backfill to make sure the soil is settled with all the air pockets out. Mulch the soil surface to help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth.
Here's an article with more tips: