Learning Center


Planting Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

With cooler weather headed our way, this fall season is the perfect time to update your landscaping with new trees and shrubs. In general, with the exception of cool season annuals and fall veggies, most plants go dormant during winter months meaning less overall maintenance and upkeep. Trees and shrubs planted during the fall will also have a better chance to establish hardy root systems that will further equip them for the following summer’s heat and drought.

What does going dormant mean?

When the leaves of your deciduous plant start to change color and drop, this indicates that the plant is readying itself for the cold or going dormant. Deciduous plants have special cells that shed their leaves or cut them off like scissors from the main part of the tree and shrub to seal out winter’s cold and keep in their water supply. It’s nature’s way of bundling up!

Why plant trees and shrubs this fall?

Cooler air temperatures during the fall gives freshly planted trees and shrubs a better chance to develop healthier root systems more rapidly than those planted in hotter months. While the overall outside temperature will be cooler, the ground and soil stay warmer longer than the air above, and warm soil also encourages root growth. As rainfall increases, new trees and shrubs will require less overall watering, meaning less hands on care as well!  Lastly, the most fun reason to plant new trees and shrubs in the fall is because you can pick what you like based on the beautiful fall colors they produce.

When to plant?

Fall officially begins with the autumnal equinox in late September. The best time to begin planting trees and shrubs is six weeks before the first sign of hard frost. Roughly September through November ideally to allow the roots to become established before the ground freezes and winter sets in. However, it is recommended that you do not continue planting trees too late into the fall because this can have a negative impact on plant health.

What to plant?

There are so many great trees and shrubs to pick from when thinking about fall landscaping that have wonderful texture, unique leaf shapes, and amazing color (and even some that flower throughout)! Check out one of our previous posts here to learn about the science behind the beautiful colors we get to see each fall and for a great list of some of our favorite show stopping trees and shrubs.

For more great tips on sprucing up your garden and landscape this fall, check out some of our previous posts and videos below, and come in and ask one of our plant experts for some inspiration and guidance. When planting this fall or anytime of year, we recommend giving your plants a Jump Start with our blend of root boosting nutrients and mycorrhizae for faster root establishment. Read more about our Good Earth Jump Start in this blog post.