Plant Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

How to select, plant, and maintain the right trees or shrubs for your yard and your climate

Fall is the Best Time to Plant

When adding trees and shrubs to your landscape, planting in the fall offers several benefits. It's an ideal time for you, as all the hard gardening work of spring and the upkeep of summer will be winding down - plus it's the best time for the tree. The combination of warm soil and cool air stimulates root growth to help your tree or shrub get established before the ground freezes. In the fall, trees and shrubs are either sold in containers or with root balls, where the root and soil is wrapped in burlap (often called "balled-and-burlapped"). Planting them is easy. Just follow these simple steps.

Select Your Trees and Shrubs

Healthy trees and shrubs will last for decades, so consider your longer-term landscaping goals and how the full-grown trees and shrubs will fit in. Consider trees and shrubs that will provide different features year-round, such as fruit in summer and changing leaf colours in fall. And for beautiful blossoms, consider a redbud or ornamental cherry.

Leave Ample Space

Give the trees and shrubs plenty of room to grow, making sure you research the plant's full-grown size. Refer to the information that comes with the tree or ask your garden center for recommendations. Use a tape measure to gauge how your new trees and shrubs will fit into your existing landscaping. You don't want to plant a tree too close to your home or neighbour's property, which may cause damage to the buildings and tree roots.

Start Digging

Now you're ready to dig. Create a hole that's twice as wide as your container and deep enough that the root ball's soil line sits slightly above ground level.

Nourish Your New Trees & Shrubs

Your new trees and shrubs need a good home in nutrient-rich soil. When planting, blend in Miracle-Gro® Premium Garden Soil Plus™ with your native soil in a 50:50 ratio. Make sure the soil line of the root ball is slightly higher than ground level. If you have a balled-and-burlapped tree, you'll want to remove any twine and burlap from the top of the root ball as well as any parts of the wire cage that will be above ground after planting. Leave the rest of the burlap, twine, and wire cage around the root ball in tact; it will break down in the soil over time. Then, start filling the hole with your soil mixture. When the hole is half-full, water the tree, then fill in the remaining soil. Finally, pull some soil away from the tree trunk to create a donut-shaped ring of soil that will act like a basin to hold water and funnel it to the tree roots, and water moderately again.