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I wanted to replace my fence with a cedar hedge in the spring. Following a miscommunication, the fence got torn down earlier.

Can I plant cedar in the fall? Is it merely not recommended, or is it a bad idea?

I'm in Montreal. Zone is 5. The cedar I'm looking at is

https://gardengallery.ca/product/cedar-degroots-spire/

Degroot's cedar spire.

Current weather is above freezing for another month, except maybe some nights. There should not be much more than a few days where weather goes back over 20 c.

Bad idea? Must I wait for spring?

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I would not plant these until spring. When I worked in a southern Zone 4 nursery, we wouldn't even sell arbor vitae after September 30 unless pushed to do so by the customer - and then we wouldn't warrantee them (which is what we would normally do). I currently live in zone 5, and still wouldn't plant them this late. In my experience, arbs don't root-in quickly enough when planted in the fall and then suffer lots of winter-kill in late winter, when there aren't enough roots to take up enough water to keep the plant unharmed/alive.

When you plant these in spring, make sure that they get adequate water all season - the last nine of these that I planted (in May in zone 5), I watered until the ground froze. They suffered no winter-kill and had a great second year. You won't need to water nearly so much after that first year.

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Container-grown plants can usually be planted at any time except when the ground is frozen. Air temperatures below freezing don't matter, so long as the plants were previously being grown in the same conditions.

A reputable supplier should only ship bare-root plants when they are fully dormant, and the general weather conditions mean the ground is not frozen. In a region with severe winters that usually means early spring before the plants have started to grow again.

Depending on the size of the plants, you may have to take more care over staking them against wind and snow damage if they are planted before the roots get established and anchor the plant firmly in the ground.

Personally, unless you really need a physical barrier during the winter, I would wait until spring for either option.

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