Adding trees and shrubs to your landscaping creates outdoor spaces that are functional and useful while contributing to a gorgeous house exterior. There are many benefits to planting trees and shrubs in your yard, including providing privacy, shade and creating outdoor sanctuaries to enjoy with family and friends. According to the US Department of Energy, three trees planted around your house can save you around $100 – $250 in utility costs every year!
In Louisiana, the best time to plant trees and shrubs to ensure the plant’s successful establishment and root growth is between October and March. There are many reasons why those months should be considered your go-to time of the year to plant your trees and shrubs.
Benefits of Planting Trees and Shrubs between October and March
1. Many Trees and Plants become Dormant
Around this time of the year, the plants above the ground will not grow anymore and will become dormant. This is because plants are not needed for foliage purposes and instead transition their energy into storing nutrients and resources while focusing on root development to prepare for the chilly months ahead. Because of the focus on root development, this is a great time to plant.
2. Extend the Settle Time
By allowing your trees and shrubs the maximum amount of grow time, you’re increasing the likelihood that they will be well-established before summer. You want your plants and shrubs to have time to settle before you add in the stress and heat of the summertime. Plus, they’ll have an extended amount of time to absorb the carbohydrates from the soil left by previous plants.
3. The weather creates a Unique Environment
The soil temperatures between October and March are still warm, which is ideal for fostering new root growth, while the cooler air reduces the chance of an energy reaction throughout the plant and is kinder to your plants. Combining the warm soil and cooler air makes the perfect environment to plant your trees and shrubs.
How to Pick the Right Tree or Shrub
Now that you know the perfect time of the year to plant your trees and shrubs, you might be wondering how to start the process of choosing which ones to grow. Things you may want to consider when selecting your plants would be the type of maintenance it requires, if they’re fast-growing and if you can locally source them.
• Choose Trees and Shrubs that You Can Take Care of
Be realistic about your gardening. How often will you have time to take care of your trees and shrubs? Is this a project you’re genuinely committed to for the long-term? Knowing how much time you are comfortable spending in your yard will help you choose the type of tree or shrub you decide to plant. Some varieties only need to be taken care of seasonally, while others require maintenance throughout the year.
• Choose Trees and Shrubs that Fit your Design
It’s important to choose trees and shrubs that fit in with the aesthetic of your house. First, look at your current landscape to determine which types of plants and shrubs could blend with what you currently have growing. You want to make sure you don’t choose a plant or shrub that is too large or does not fit.
Ensure that the location you choose will not block your windows, doors or damage your house with their roots once they’re fully grown. Make sure the shrubs and plants you choose contribute to an exciting, dynamic, contrasting landscaping environment. You don’t want the same shrub or tree everywhere.
• Choose Trees and Shrubs that are in your budget
The range of prices for trees and shrubs can significantly vary depending on how you buy them and plant them. Creating a budget that you can realistically spend on your landscaping will help you make smart buying decisions and let you know what you can get for your money.
• Choose Trees and Shrubs that work with your environment
If you live on a landscape with poor drainage, you’ll need to pick trees and shrubs that will thrive with lots of water. If you live in a drought area, you need to consider planting drought-tolerant shrubs and trees that will survive the weather while encouraging its surrounding environment to become resistant to dry weather as well. If your goal is to attract wildlife, you’ll need to pick varieties of trees and shrubs that function as a wildlife habitat.
Popular Shrubs to Plant in Louisiana
Shrubs are wood-stemmed plants that usually branch freely from the base. Unlike a tree that only has a single stem, shrubs have many stems from the ground level. Shrubs are smaller plants and will not reach higher than 10-15 feet. Shrubs are considered the primary background plants for most home landscapes.
The most popular shrubs in Louisiana are:
• Azaleas: Azaleas are offered in various colors, including red, purple, pink, coral bell, and white. These beautiful shrubs often bloom early to midseason with flowers that will last a few weeks. They prefer to live under or near trees and are tolerant of the shade.
• Camellia: Camellia is an evergreen shrub that will produce semi-double blooms. The famous Camellia in Louisiana is referred to as a Camellia Sasanqua.
• Cleyera: Cleyera is a beautiful flowering evergreen shrub that can reach a height between ten and fifteen feet. This shrub needs full sun to light shade and will produce the most beautiful, fragrant white flowers in the middle of summer, followed by small round black fruits.
• Lantana: This low maintenance evergreen shrub will bloom all year long or annually in areas that bring frost. Lantanas are available in multiple colors, including purple, orange, pink, yellow, and red. Lantana is drought tolerant, which is perfect for hot, dry summers.
• Hydrangea: These beautiful shrubs have so many different varieties. The most popular ones are the Endless Summer, Masja Hydrangea, Nikko Blue Hydrangea, and Oakleaf Hydrangea. Each features a unique, bold color.
Other Popular shrubs you may found planted in Louisiana landscapes include Sasanquas, Indian Hawthorns, Loropetalums, Viburnum, Ligustrums, Dwarf Yaupons, Hollies, and Gardenias.
Popular Trees to Plant in Louisiana
Trees are woody perennial plants that can be deciduous or evergreen. Each tree usually has a single stem, but some exceptions with two or three are considered trees. Trees are quite different from shrubs, not only in size but also in shape.
• Willow Oak: Willow oak is an ornamental and shade tree. It’s leaves are similar to a canopy and will create visual interest because of it’s appearance while blocking out the sun.
• LaceBark Elm: This tree can quickly adapt to any conditions it may face. The LaceBark Elm is sturdy and durable with a distinctive mottled bark.
• Willow: The willow tree is a beautiful tree that will thrive on lots of water and is considered very wet soil tolerant. The willow tree is perfect if your landscape has poor drainage.
You should consider planting other popular trees, including the Southern, Bald Cypress, Crape Myrtles, Deciduous Oaks, Southern Sugar Maple, Hollies, Vitex, and Sweet Bay Magnolia.
Tips to Plant Your Trees and Shrubs between October and March
It’s not a complicated process to plant your trees and shrubs, but planting them correctly can enhance your tree or shrub’s ability to establish and grow. Try to follow these tips when planning your tree or shrub.
• Dig the hole about two times wider than the root of the plant. Ensure the hole is not deeper than what the plant was initially growing in in its previous environment. If you’re working with a tree, make sure that the flair is not covered with soil.
• When you remove the plant from it’s container, it’s essential to inspect the plant’s roots. If they are tightly wound up and have a circular pattern, you need to open them up to stop the pattern and encourage growth into it’s new surrounding soil. You want the roots to spread out, not bound up. If you don’t separate the roots, your plant might not grow or will never reach its full potential.
• Use the soil you dug up, without additions, to backfill the hole. Natural soil is best unless there is a unique circumstance.
• Make sure to hand pack or tap the soil around the roots to ensure there is good contact between the soil and root. After filling halfway with soil, try watering it before adding the final layer.
• Water your plant consistently. Ensure that you know how much water is needed to keep your plant growing.
The Journey Begins
Start planning your landscape now to make sure you can plant your trees and shrubs between the October to March time period. If you’re looking for more information on the type of trees and shrubs you can grow, check out our website for loads of helpful information.