I am wondering if I should plant my Sassafras in my Toronto garden (and therefore need some pointers on squirrel-proofing) or if I should keep it in the house to overwinter. It’s a first year plant and I feel very protective.
Thank-you in advance
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your question.
I can understand that you would be very protective of your Sassafras (Sassafras albidium) sapling since it is rare to see one growing in Toronto. Its USDA growing zone is 4-9 so you should be ok in Toronto. Sassafras trees can grow to 20m. You will need a large open space, not close to other structures, in full sun or part shade and sandy soil. The tree grows very quickly. You will want to plant it in its final location now. It will eventually develop a long tap root and therefore does not like to be moved. Trees, even as saplings, need to grow in their natural environment outdoors, experiencing all the seasons, including the winter.
If you are worried about squirrels, you could create a sturdy wire cage around the tree this season.
Good luck and enjoy yours beautiful tree. It will be the envy of your neighbourhood, especially in the fall with its yellow/orange/red leaves.
I have included links to a few web sites that discuss growing conditions of Sassafras trees in more detail.