People in my neck of the woods generally plant trees and shrubs in the spring, but early fall is just as good, if not better.
Late August and early September in Ohio are often dry (perhaps not this year!), so some attention should be paid to making sure a newly planted bush is kept moist. Once the cooler weather and rain of fall begins, the roots will take hold and should have a good start before hard frosts.
Nurseries usually carry fresh stock at this time of year, so consider adding to the shrubbery of your landscape.
Why Plant Shrubs?
A little refresher if you aren’t already convinced about the value of shrubs. For utility, these woody plants provide solutions for many problems in the landscape: privacy, physical separation, visual interest.
Many have fragrance and beauty that you won’t find in any other type of plant… think of lilacs for instance. Some provide that Holy Grail of gardening: all season interest. There are lots of reasons to include them, but they seem to play second fiddle to trees and perennials.
Think about that space between those two primary parts of the garden and what stands out in it? Yes, shrubs.
That reminds me of the fact that when the praises of a plant are sung by those who wish to sell it, the message can get jumbled.
My observations about shrubbery in the landscape:
Small, Dwarf, Compact
What happens when a plant is described as “dwarf” or “compact”? We think of small dimensions, but in plant talk it may just convey a relative size, small-er, not necessarily small.
A great example of this is Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’. It can reach 10′ x 10′ rather than the 15′ by 15′ of the regular plant. It is still taking quite a bit of garden real estate, even though it is called the dwarf burning bush.
Blue, Pink, Red
Plant descriptions are notoriously inexact when it comes to color. Pink and blue in shrubs might depend on the pH of the soil (yes, Hydrangeas). Red is more often of the magenta variety, and it could refer to flowers and foliage OR one or the other. Foliage color morphs throughout the season on some plants, so red foliage might be only in fall or only in spring, or it could be a varied combo.
Height and Width
A major consideration with any woody plant is how much space it will eventually claim. This will matter quite a bit when planted next to walkways or prize plants, etc.
The information given for a plant may be quite accurate under specific conditions, but what happens if the bush sulks in your soil? Or loves the moist conditions? Or any number of other variables?
Just like hardiness maps, height and width estimations may be more of a ball park figure.
This is one reason I am a big fan of arboretums. Viewing a plant which has grown to a measure of maturity in your climate tells more about how the plant performs in your garden than a whole bookshelf of garden books.
Since I have a number of posts from the past on this topic, this might be a good time to revisit some of them for planting ideas and info.
Choose a Shrub
Do you need some ideas about shrubs that are great choices or even those that might not be that great, but people love them anyway? Then there are those choices that make a certain season seem to sing.