In the spring you may hear the term “Dig Window” and wonder what that means.
While trees can be planted most times of the year, that does not mean they can be dug out of the ground all year. Certain trees will not tolerate the major stress of their roots being cut out of the ground. The dig windows are the times of the year it is safe to harvest certain trees.
Trees store energy (carbohydrates) in the roots throughout the winter. This energy is what the trees use to produce leaves in the spring. As nursery professionals we are looking at each tree species to determine if that energy has begun to move into the buds. For example, digging certain species like Oaks or Birch before bud swell, will lead to a strong chance those trees will not make new leaves in the spring. This is also the same reason why some species can not be dug in fall. They are storing energy in fall to survive the winter.
As nursery professionals it is important to stress these windows to our customers. If a customer wants an Oak in early spring, we need to explain to them the risks of digging certain types of trees before they are ready. If we educate them on dig windows it will lead to better decisions and outcomes for nurseries and the customers.
Check out this helpful chart below to learn about different tree’s digging windows. Many people have different strategies for digging trees outside of these windows with varying success. This chart is a good reference to start with and you can experiment with caution from there.
For space reasons not every tree we grow is listed on this chart. If you have questions about a species not listed on this email or have questions about dig windows in general feel free to reach out to us and we can get you an answer.