Fall is officially upon us, and though it’s too late to get a full garden going, it’s not too late to add some trees and shrubs to your landscape. Planting in the fall offers several benefits. Not only is it a period of downtime—before the intense spring workload and after the all the summer upkeep—it is also one of the best times of the year for newly planted trees. One big reason for this is the combination of warm soil and cool air that stimulates root growth and fosters healthy growth before winter’s cold freezes the ground.

To help you on your fall planting journey, TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living has put together this handy guide to walk you through the steps of fall tree planting. If at any point in this process you feel that you need assistance—or that you would rather devote your free time elsewhere—don’t hesitate to contact us, your Independence lawn care professionals!

Read on to learn about the steps of planting trees and shrubs in the fall.

Pick the Right Tree or Shrub

Not to add any pressure to this task, but trees and shrubs can last for decades. Taking the time to think about your long-term landscaping goals and what best suits your needs, will pay off in the future. When making this decision consider how the tree or shrub will look at different times of the year and what kind of care and maintenance will be required. This may be the perfect opportunity to plant that fruit tree you’ve been wanting to plant or perhaps an ornamental cherry tree with beautiful blossoms.

Choose a Spot

Once again, you must remember that your newly planted tree or shrub is—or at least we hope—going to grow. When choosing a spot, make sure you leave ample space for growth. Research the plant’s mature size and measure out the area where you intend to plant your new shrub or tree. Make sure to avoid planting too close to your house, a fence, the neighbors, power lines, or any other potentially troublesome locations.

Dig Your Hole

Get out your shovel, gloves, and make sure your back is stretched—it’s time to dig. You’ll likely be planting a balled and burlapped tree or shrub, and you want to make sure your hole is twice as wide as the ball. Additionally, you want the root ball’s soil line to sit just slightly above ground level.


Cover and Nourish

After digging your hole and removing the burlap (if necessary) from you balled plant, place it in the hole and cover it up with nutrient-rich soil. To find out what kind of fertilizer or soil is right for your new plant, be sure to pay a visit to our Independence garden center. You can consult with professionals—possibly even our certified arborist—and make sure you have all that you need.

When you have filled the hole up halfway, stop and water the tree and then continue adding your soil mixture. For the final touch, pull some soil away from the trunk of your tree or shrub, creating a donut-like ring of soil that will hold water and direct the moisture to the young roots.

Apply Mulch

Another one of the benefits of planting trees in the fall is that their water needs are strong in preparation for winter. However, this strong thirst for water will taper off once winter arrives and won’t start back up until the spring. Using bark-based mulch to cover the roots of your tree will help conserve moisture, which will benefit your new tree or shrub. Be sure to keep the mulch from touching the trunk. This will prevent the likelihood of disease.

Water Your New Tree

Like with any new plant, your new tree or shrub will require a healthy amount of water. This is especially important when planting a tree in the autumn. In the fall, plants and trees are fighting to absorb as much energy as possible, drinking as much as they can to prepare for winter. Water your new shrub or tree two to three times a week, adjusting for soil and weather conditions.

If you need any assistance with your fall planting, contact TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living. Our experienced and dedicated staff are not just experts in lawn care, we also specialize in irrigation systems, landscaping, weed control, and much more. We also have a fully stocked garden center!