Fall Transplanting Tips for Trees, Shrubs, and More!

Ted Lare garden center planting in garden

Transplanting is the process of adding a fully germinated seedling or mature plant to a permanent location in your landscape—and fall is the perfect time to do it! This may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry; whether for trees, shrubs, or perennials, our transplanting tips will help you succeed and plant the landscape of your dreams.

When to Transplant: The Spring vs Fall Debate

For trees and shrubs, many gardeners feel that fall is the best time for transplanting and there are logical tips that prove this to be true. The cool, moist weather helps plants adapt to their new environment and avoid less transplant shock in the harsh heat of summer. In addition, in fall the soil is still relatively warm after a long summer, so it’s quite cozy for new plants to begin establishing roots.

shrubs being planted ted lare garden center

In comparison, spring-planted trees or shrubs must contend with summer heat before their roots have time to develop. Without a proper irrigation system, these young roots are at higher risk of drying out and dying off before they’ve had a chance to grow. Young roots absolutely must stay moist to survive, so spring planting your trees may mean a lot more watering. Either way, there is a bit of risk when you’re transplanting trees, but if you follow our handy tips, you shouldn’t need to worry. 

When to transplant perennials is much simpler. The general rule of thumb is to transplant fall-blooming perennials in the spring and spring-blooming perennials in the fall. An easy way to remember this is never to transplant perennials when they’re flowering, as that would disrupt their growth cycle, and the plant will end up losing its blooms from the shock.

Transplanting Tips for Trees and Shrubs

Location is key! Keep in mind the size your tree or shrub will get once they’re fully grown, and choose a suitable place where they won’t conflict with sidewalks, other plants, your house, or your neighbors.

Dig a hole that’s as deep as the pot your tree or shrub came in and at least 2-3 times wider. You want the crown of the root ball at ground level, and plenty of room for the roots to spread out width-wise. Amending your soil with 1/3 of compost for boosted nutrients is an additional step that many gardeners subscribe to.

Ted Lare garden center new hole dug for tree

Next, check the root ball and gently loosen the roots before placing your tree or shrub into the hole. Begin backfilling the hole with the amended soil until it’s halfway full, and then water thoroughly. Allow the water to soak in completely and fill the hole with the rest of the soil. Lightly tamp down the soil to eliminate air pockets.

Water the newly transplanted tree or shrub and then cover with a layer of mulch to keep the moisture locked in. It sounds like a lot of water, but young roots are thirsty, and water can evaporate surprisingly quickly. In fact, out of all our transplanting tips, making sure you water your trees and shrubs enough is most important. However, keep an eye on the weather. If it’s an overcast day, you may get away with less watering. Always base your watering schedule on the weather and adjust accordingly.

When transplanting trees or shrubs, some essential after-care tips include staking these young plants, so they don’t get blown over by a strong wind and wrapping them in burlap for added protection against any harsh freeze and thaw cycles that can happen in winter. A considerable benefit to transplanting your trees or shrubs in the fall is that Mother Nature will take over the watering for you once it snows!

Now that you’re armed with all the transplanting tips you need, stop into Ted Lare Garden Center to shop for trees, shrubs, and other fall plants just waiting to be added to your landscape today!


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