Top 10 Tips for Planting Shrubs, Trees, and Perennials in Summer
Should you buy the shrubs and trees you see at the garden center now or do you have to wait until fall? While the saying that “fall is for planting” is true, the idea that you can’t plant in the summer is not. If you see a beautiful shrub, tree, or perennial that you just can’t pass up, then don’t! You never know if it’ll still be in stock when the cooler temperatures of fall come around, so sometimes it’s better to get the plant you love and get it in the ground ASAP. You can plant those beautiful trees, shrubs, and perennials in your garden now and with a little extra care and attention, they will do just as well as if you waited until fall.
We’re getting a lot of questions about summertime planting so we’re answering them all right here to keep you growing confidently in every season.
Summer Planting FAQs
Can I plant shrubs and trees in summer?
Yes! You can plant trees, shrubs, and even perennials in the summer. The key to successful summer planting is giving your plant a little extra attention than you are used to giving your fall or spring-planted one.
What should I do if I’m planting in the summer?
Watering your new shrub or tree deeply is one of the most important things you can do to keep them healthy after planting them in the summer. See more of our tips for summer planting below.
When is it not ok to plant in the summer?
Don’t plant during extreme conditions like severe drought (especially if there are water restrictions), hot, dry, and windy periods, or when you are getting so much rain that there is standing water.
What should I not plant in summer?
Avoid planting bare root plants and transplanting newly divided or freshly dug plants in the summer. Wait until fall or spring to do your diving, moving, and bare root planting.
Ten Tips for Summer Planting
- Container-grown plants (like the ones you see at your local garden center) are the best option for summer planting. It’s not the time to do bare root or transplant newly dug plants, but container-grown plants can be planted without disrupting the roots.
- If you buy a plant in summer, don’t save it to plant in fall. Getting it in the soil helps keep the roots cool and allows more water retention.
- Plant on a cloudy and/or cool day, or in the evening as temperatures are starting to dip.
- Fill the newly dug hole with water and let it drain before planting. After planting, deeply soak the plant.
- Mulch with a 2 to 3″ layer of organic mulch (or non-organic if you require firewise landscaping). This will help maintain soil moisture and keep weeds at bay.
- For the first two weeks, water deeply and often — possibly every day in very hot, dry conditions. Water less often if you are getting rain or cooler summer weather. A “deep” watering for shrubs and trees entails leaving the hose on and soaking the plant for 3 to 4 minutes (30 seconds is usually enough for perennials). You can reduce watering to every other day or every few days as the weeks go on.
- Pay attention to soil moisture levels. Do not let the soil around the roots get too dry. In dry summer areas, overwatering a new shrub or tree is pretty hard. However, overwatering a plant is possible in areas that get consistent rain in the summer.
- Don’t skip watering while you’re away on vacation for a week. If you don’t have automatic irrigation, get a neighbor to water while you are gone.
- Consider using a tree gator or something similar to help properly water new trees deeply and efficiently (a great waterwise approach for areas dealing with drought).
- Be patient. You’re just trying to keep them happy until fall. It will grow next spring.