This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The horticultural season in Western Massachusetts has been prolific beyond our anticipations, and consequently of a nature to call for more vigorous action.
In response to the question whether trees in the west should be transplanted in the fall, Mr. J. B. Richardson, of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., answers no for his locality. In the Middle States it will do, but not in a bleak, cold, snowless country like this. But we do approve of taking up all kinds of deciduous trees (intended for spring planting) in the fall and burying them for the winter for various reasons.
All half hardy, and even the most hardy, are more or less injured where left standing in the nursery over winter, by the many severe changes from warm to cold sometimes half frozen to death; such trees taken from the nursery in the spring and planted, invariably half of them die or become sick, while those taken in the fall, while perfectly sound, and buried and planted in the spring, will every one grow and make a good growth. We speak from large experience, having practiced burying trees of many sorts for at least twenty years, and the trial in all cases has proved most satisfactory.
It is surprising to us that tree planters are so slow in adopting this practice, that so few obtain their trees from the nurseries in the fall, rather than defer it till spring. Certainly there is more time to make their selection and to prepare the soil for an orchard in the fall, and get the trees upon the ground ready at the earliest opportunity to plant them.
Do not wait for an agent to come round, but go or send to the nursery, get your trees; two year old is the best age, they cost less and you can get more roots according to their size, and they invariably make the best formed trees for an orchard in this climate; bring them home, select a dry place in the garden or the orchard plot, and for the first bundle of trees open a trench crosswise the intended mound, lay down and single out the trees in this cross trench (just the roots) and let the tops lay on the solid ground; then lay on a thin stick or lath, then cover this layer half under with fine earth, press down, and by doing this yon will have opened another cross trench for another variety or bundle. Lay down in same manner, fill in with fine earth - same as before and bo on until all are in, then dig a trench all around the trees and cover so that the roots will be under about two feet and the top six inches; the main point in covering is to keep the tops from the sun.
If the covering is with clean fine earth and well packed, so there shall be no airholes, they are perfectly safe. Take all weeds and other rubbish entirely away, so there can be no danger of mice getting in, and your trees will come out as sound as when put in.
All deciduous trees may be treated in the same manner, also grapes, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, currants, etc. It will more than pay the extra labor, for that is your insurance, that every plant you set is sound and uninjured by the severe changes during winter. This is not my advice alone, but you have it from every experienced nurseryman and orchardist in the Western States.