For most parts of North America spring is the best time to plant new apple trees and other fruit trees. The exact month for planting depends on where you live and our spring shipping dates give a rough indication of the best time in your state.
In warmer zones (7 and above) such as southern California, areas of the Pacific North West, and some of the southern states, it is also possible, to plant in the Fall - usually mid-November. However fall planting is only advisable if minimum winter temperatures are not likely to be much below freezing. If in doubt, spring planting is always safer. While there is some benefit to planting pot-grown fruit trees in early fall, our trees are all supplied bare-root so there is no great advantage of planting in the fall, even in warmer zones.
Customers sometimes ask about planting in spring after the last frost dates. Frost dates are not particularly relevant when it comes to planting fruit trees, the state of the ground is more important - if it is frozen solid then you can't plant, but as soon as it starts to thaw you can start planting.
When to order and buy apple trees
While early spring is the best time to plant, it is not the best times to order apple trees. Fruit trees are produced on an annual cycle and harvested in late fall. This means the best time to order is over the summer for planting the following spring.
Customers that order over the summer have the best choice of varieties and sizes. We usually still have good availability over the winter before shipping starts in the spring, but the sooner you order the better. Don't wait until April or May to order for spring planting because it will be too late, we will have sold out.
A more subtle reason that we cannot ship in May or June is that even if we had trees left over, it would be too late to send them because they will have broken dormancy in the nursery and can no longer be transplanted at that point.
Note that we don't ask for payment for summer orders until nearer the time of shipping.