New plants, trees can be added to your yard in autumn

  • Add a thin layer of mulch after you add new plants to your flower beds in autumn.

    Add a thin layer of mulch after you add new plants to your flower beds in autumn. Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

By Tim Johnson
Chicago Botanic Garden
Posted9/25/2022 7:00 AM

Fall is a great time to plant and transplant trees and shrubs.

In general, trees and shrubs do not need to be pruned when transplanted to compensate for loss of roots during transplanting. Fall conditions, which include warm soil, moderate air temperatures and rain, help plants re-establish their root systems.


Evergreens benefit from planting early in the fall to minimize chances of winter burn. Try to get them planted before the middle of October and continue watering them weekly or as needed until the ground is frozen. They should not go into winter under stress from being too dry.

• Mulch is also important to install for fall plantings. Use 2 to 3 inches of mulch for trees and shrubs and 1 to 2 inches for perennials and ground covers. It is best to keep mulch away from the crown (base) of the plant.

Good soil preparation is important for a successful planting. It is best to amend the entire planting area or bed instead of individual holes. Evenly incorporate 2 to 3 inches of compost into existing garden soil.

• Weeds in the lawn can be sprayed now. Herbicides are most effective when temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and weeds are actively growing. Spot spray the weeds to minimize the amount of herbicide you use.

• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden,

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