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Fall planting of trees and shrubs takes advantage of increased moisture and root system dormancy through winter to minimize transplant shock, give a headstart on spring growth, and increase resiliency through summer.
Deciduous trees and shrubs are best transplanted after they have dropped the leaves in late fall or early winter. Evergreen trees or shrubs can be transplanted earlier, as long as they are not currently putting on new growth.
Before the first ground-hardening frost, carefully dig up the transplantıs root system, including plenty of surrounding soil to avoid cutting too many roots. To prevent damaging the rootball, transport it to the new planting hole using a wheel barrow or pulling it to the new site on a tarp.
Dig a planting hole no deeper or wider than the root system so the top of the transplantıs soil is an inch above the surrounding ground. Planting too deep can create future problems. Water regularly until the ground freezes.
At time of planting, you can lightly prune needle and broadleaf evergreens of crowded branches to strengthen the frame and help the plant withstand snow accumulation.
Young trees or shrubs are best protected from deer or other wildlife damage by fencing with wire. If they are too big or too many for fencing, try one of the methods described in WDF's Living with Washingtonıs Wildlifeı series at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/deer.htm.
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