Timing is important when buying and planting trees and shrubs. You might want to wait until the fall to shop, since that's the ideal time for planting. When you plant in the fall, the combination of warm soil and cool air stimulates root growth to help your tree or shrub get established before the frost hits. Trees and shrubs are sold in containers, bare-root, or with root balls (called "balled-and-burlapped"). Planting them is easy, if you follow a few simple steps.
Since healthy trees and shrubs can last for decades, choose wisely. Consider ones that grow well in your climate, fit the space you have, and complement your landscape design. For example, if you live in the Eastern U.S. and want quick shade, a silver maple will grow fast enough to provide it in a few years. In the Southwest, a mesquite tree would be a good choice. For beautiful blossoms, consider a redbud or crabapple tree in Northern regions, crape myrtle in the Southeast, or desert willow in the Southwest. You have lots of choices.
Give the trees and shrubs you plant plenty of room to grow. One mistake people often make is to plant trees or shrubs too close to each other or their residence. Remember that fully grown trees may interfere with the foundation or wiring, drop leaves into the gutter, and be more trouble than you ever intended. Don't plant a tree too close to your neighbor's property, either.
This is the fun part. You need to dig a hole that's deep enough for the tree's roots to sit on solid dirt, with the soil line slightly above ground level. If you have a bare-root tree, dig the hole at least six inches below the soil line, so that the roots can be surrounded by loose soil.
Your tree or shrub needs a good home in the soil, with lots of nutrients. Blend in Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Trees and Shrubs with native soil in a 50:50 ratio. Make a small mound in the center of your hole and place your tree or shrub on it. The soil line should be slightly higher than ground level. Untie the wires from the root ball and cut the burlap with a knife to relieve tree roots. Then, start filling the hole with your soil mixture. Tap the soil gently with your foot as you go so that there's a slight depression around the base for catching water.