Planting Trees & Shrubs in November

By Emily Reed, DSBG Horticulturist

In zone 7b/8a, November is a great time to plant woody tees and shrubs. As deciduous perennial woody plants are starting to lose their leaves, they transition into root production. Planting or transplanting trees and shrubs now will allow them to become established in their new permanent home before the upcoming spring and summer. The soil is easy to dig before it begins to freeze in winter, and the lower temperatures make it much easier to keep your new plantings well-watered. 

Begin by choosing the best spot for your plant. Pay close attention to the eventual mature size of the cultivar you have chosen, as many trees and shrubs are available in standard and dwarf varieties. Allowing plenty of room for the plant to mature is crucial, especially when planting near a home or other structure. 

Before removing the tree or shrub from its nursery pot or burlap, prepare the soil where it will be planted. Dig a hole 2x the width and 1.5x the depth of the root ball. Amend the existing soil in the hole with compost or another nutrient rich planting mix. Tip the tree or shrub on its side, and remove the pot. The roots may be thick and tangled, so be sure to loosen them as best you can before placing the plant in the hole you’ve prepared. The eventual soil level in the hole will need to be even with the soil level that existed inside the pot. Do not bury the plant more deeply or more shallowly than it was planted previously. Once planted, the soil should be firmly tamped down to prevent the plant from shifting or tipping over. You may choose to stake trees if the wind is a concern. Keep your new tree or shrub well-watered, and fertilize regularly as it becomes established. Once established, you will appreciate the extra effort you put into planting and the new tree or shrub will show the evidence of your hard work. 

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Debra Plosky