Q. What are the current guidelines for planting trees and shrubs in the fall?
A. Many trees and shrubs can be quite successfully planted in the fall. The moderate days and cooler night temperatures are ideal for planting. The warm soil and the return of autumnal rains provide good conditions for woody plants to establish their root systems before going dormant. Trees and shrubs that are already balled and burlapped or those grown in containers can be planted in fall, but bare-root plants should wait until early spring. If the trees are growing in a nursery, they should not be dug up and replanted until their foliage begins to change color or drop, indicating they have initiated dormancy. Evergreens need a longer lead time to set down their roots and should be planted no later than October 1, or in the spring. Marginal ornamental trees are best planted in spring. They include: Japanese maples, kousa and flowering dogwood, redbud, magnolia, fringetree, rhododendrons, and azaleas.