How to Plant Trees During the Fall in Texas


In most parts of the country, trees may be planted in the early spring or fall. This is not the case in Texas where summer comes early and is brutally hot. Texas trees are best planted in fall, according to Central Texas Master Gardener Melody Fitzgerald, so that they can establish a developed root system throughout the winter and spring that will see them through the hot, dry Texas summer.

Step 1

Select a location for your tree that meets the variety's light requirements. Most trees prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Choose a location with the tree's eventual size in mind. An oak tree, for instance will take up more space than a Ponderosa lemon.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole for your tree that is twice the size of the root ball and as deep as required for the type of tree you are planting. Most trees should be planted at the same depth they were grown at. Citrus should be planted 2 inches shallower. Figs should be planted 2 to 3 inches deeper.

Step 3

Break up the soil around the edge of your planting hole to avoid a "potted plant" effect, in which the roots of the tree can't break through the planting hole to develop laterally.

Step 4

Soak the root ball of the tree in a bucket of water until the roots are saturated. Remove the tree from the bucket and pour water from a garden hose over the roots until you have rinsed away potting soil from the root ball to a depth of 1 inch. Remove any roots that encircle the trunk of the tree with pruning shears. Root development such as this is called girdling, and can kill the tree, according to Fitzgerald.

Step 5

Place the root ball into the hole and fill in around the sides of the tree with soil until the roots are halfway covered. Water with a garden hose to settle the soil around the roots and cover the root ball the rest of the way. Mound 1 inch of soil over the roots.

Step 6

Mound up soil in a berm that is 2 to 3 inches high and in a 2-foot ring around the tree. Fill the berm with water and allow it to soak into the ground, advises Texas A&M University Extension. Fill in soil around the tree to replace air pockets that the water forces out from around the roots.

Step 7

Water the tree daily using a pint of water for a week. Gradually taper off the watering as the roots become established and the berm dissolves.

Step 8

Protect your new tree from frost by wrapping the tree in burlap. Staple the burlap to secure it around the tree and the trunk. Do not let the burlap touch the ground. Remove the wrapping before temperatures warm up in spring to prevent sunscald.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tree
  • Garden hose
  • Bucket


  • Texas A&M Extension: Planting a Tree
  • Texas A&M Extension: Figs
  • Melody's Gardening in Central Texas: Central Texas Trees

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M Extension: Texas Tree Planting Guide
Keywords: planting Texas trees, planting fall trees, subtropical tree planting

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."