What to Plant Now: Trees + Shrubs

With all this talk of putting the garden to bed, it may feel as though the time to plant has come and gone. While we are getting close to the end of planting season, the cool days of autumn are actually the ideal time to plant most woody trees and shrubs. Here are a few that I'll be planting before the cold fully sets in.


Boxwood (Buxus microphylla)

Image by Yarygen courtesy iStock. 

The boxwood finds its way into nearly all of the gardens that I design because it can thrive in a multitude of conditions and fits well in many garden designs. Compact, evergreen, and long-lived, I recommend using it for low–to–medium hedges or as structural punctuations throughout a planting bed.


Ilex "Nellie R. Stevens"

Image courtesy Home Depot.

The ilex or holly family is immense and offers a number of wonderful small tree and shrub options. I'll be planting a long-time favorite, Nellie R. Stevens, this fall for a bit of evergreen privacy in the backyard. This variety tolerates sun and part shade and typically tops out between 15' and 24' tall, which is perfect for a small- to medium-size yard.


Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Image by winipins courtesy iStock.

The dogwood trees in my neighborhood have provided some of the richest and longest-lasting autumn color that I can remember, so I'm definitely adding one to our garden. I also love that the dogwood's berries are a great source of food for local birds and its spring show of flowers will undoubtedly be glorious.