Written By Joshua VanBrakle.

Posted on December 19th, 2017.

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Many tree suppliers start taking spring orders in January. If you plan on planting trees this year, order them now for the best chance of getting the number and kinds of trees you want.”

The holidays are over, and the long, cold months of winter stretch ahead of us. But while the ground may be frozen, now’s the time to think spring if you intend to plant trees this year.


Plan on planting some trees this year? Order trees in January to have the best chance of getting the number and kinds of trees you want.

Many tree suppliers start taking spring orders in January. If you wait until right before planting season to order, you may not be able to get as many trees as you want, or you may not have as wide a selection of species. That’s why it’s best to order early. You still won’t pick up your trees until the spring, but this way they’re reserved for you.

What should you plant? To start, pay attention to your planting site. Here are some questions to answer, and then you can talk with the tree supplier about species options to fit your needs:

  • How much sun does the site get?
  • Are the soils wet or dry? Do they drain well, or do they tend to pond?
  • How bad is deer pressure in your area?
  • Does the tree need to be shorter than a certain height at maturity (for instance, if you’re planting near your house)?
  • Are you looking for a certain appearance, such as a particular fall color or a privacy screen?
  • Do you want to attract wildlife, for example with berries, nuts, or flowers?

For more information on choosing tree species, check out the MyWoodlot Activity “Decide Which Trees to Plant.

Once you know which trees you want, where do you get tree seedlings? A good place to start is your county’s Soil and Water Conservation District. Many of these groups have annual tree and shrub sales at low cost. You can find your local district office using this online map of them for the US. You can also check with a local native plant nursery. This directory from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center lets you search for native plant nurseries near you. Finally, in New York where we’re based, the state-owned Saratoga Tree Nursery has an annual plant sale. Check out this link for more information on what they have and how to order.

Tree planting is a rewarding experience, but it also requires some thinking ahead to make sure your trees survive. Now that you know which trees you want and where to get them, check out these additional MyWoodlot resources for advice on how to plant and protect your trees over time.

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