Living in the North Texas region makes for some interesting lawn and gardening situations. On one hand, we have the benefit of mild winters and a plethora of beautiful native plant species. On the other hand, the moderate climate also creates some interesting perimeters when it comes to planting.
This is true for planting shrubs, especially considering when to plant them and what species to go with based on your preferences and local habitat.
If you’re wondering when the best time is to plant shrubs, you aren’t alone. At a glance, this may seem like too broad a question to ask. But the truth is, there is a pretty universal and user-friendly answer if you’re willing to unpack the details.
Late fall to early spring is generally considered the best time to plant shrubs in our region. This is largely because seedlings or saplings can soak up some late fall nutrients, rest through the winter, and begin active growth in the mild and welcoming climate of early spring.
The good news is, even in late winter there are options available to beautify your landscape, so long as you aren’t facing a hard freeze. But before we make any purchases and “break ground” on your new shrub planting project, there are several important factors to consider.
No matter the size or type of the project you’re starting, JC’s Landscaping Makes Lawn Care Easy For YOU!
When it comes to location, we’re considering multiple factors. We need to take stock of the space available, the surrounding foliage, and the amount of water and light that particular part of your yard gets on average.
It’s easy to get overzealous when you first begin a new gardening project. What we often envision is the final product, and that can lead us to trouble.
What I mean is, if you’re about to plant some seedlings or baby shrubs that will grow over a meter wide, that spacing initially looks awkward. They’re too far apart! Look at all that dirt!
No….They’re not too far apart. They’re just fine! Unless you want to sabotage that final product you have in your mind by overcrowding your space because it looks sparse right now, don’t forget to allow plenty of room for healthy growth.
There’s a wealth of information available, no matter what you choose to plant, that will guide you in how deep and how far apart you need to space your saplings. Take heed from the experts and trust what they know!
There are certain species and subspecies of many plants that can become invasive. And by that, I don’t mean weeds per se. I mean, some plants grow more verdantly, rapidly, and opportunistically than others.
Knowing that, it’s good to learn a bit not just about what you’re planting, but what you’ve already established. You may have a potentially invasive type of ground cover, for instance, but never knew that because it’s enclosed in a border with no competition.
For instance, planting some holly along the fence in a gorgeous deep green bed of English Ivy may not be as ideal as it sounds. That ivy was perfectly happy on its own, thank you very much. And as an established plant with a strong root system, it may give your brand new baby shrubs a run for their money when it comes to water and nutrients.
See what I mean? You’ve gotta make sure that neighboring plants will get along well!
On a similar note, did you know that adjacent foliage can share nutrient distribution? This practice is called companion planting. It isn’t something that every gardener needs to pay specific attention to, but it’s helpful knowledge.
A bit of research can give your garden a boost regarding the establishment of healthy symbiotic relationships. As an example, the popular Texas flower Coral Bells does well as a companion to trees.
Much of this has to do with how plants affect the pH of the soil they inhabit. Plants with similar mineral and pH requirements tend to pair well together. Ferns, for instance, make good companion plants to larger woody shrubs.
We know that lighting is a critical factor with all plant life. Make sure you choose a variety that will thrive in the relative lighting provided where you intend to plant it/them. It’s also important to consider whether your shrubs, when fully grown, will compromise the available sunlight of adjacent plant life.
You don’t want to establish a dense evergreen that’s going to cast a long shadow on your sun-hardy veggie garden, right? Plan ahead to be sure everyone is getting what they need.
How is your sprinkler system laid out in your yard? Or, if you rotate it manually, how diligent are you really when it comes to doing so in a timely fashion?
Wherever you choose to place your new shrubbery, make sure the natural moisture level in that portion of your yard is conducive to its need. If it requires a lot of watering, then the oft-neglected back corner of your yard is not ideal. If it needs well-drained soil, then a low-lying patch of ground will oversaturate the root system.
The Job of Planting
A general rule of thumb when planting shrubs with an established root system is to dig a hole about 3x wider than the space it takes up. Then you can re-fill the hole with native soil once it’s placed in the ground. This ensures that the growing system has loose, well-aerated soil to expand into. No need to buy commercial soil; just use what you dug up.
For help keeping established trees and shrubs looking sharp, check out our Bush and Tree Trimming service page.
You do not need a fertilizer unless your soil is already deficient, or if the plant type you’ve already chosen has a specification for its care. As noted previously, late fall and even winter are great times to plant new shrubs, but this is also their dormant season. Excessive fertilizer will simply be wasted, as the root system will not be in “active duty” during cold weather.
What Should I Plant?
Like we discussed before, the moderate climate of North Texas is ideal for many plant species. Evergreens are always a solid choice, but you might be surprised at how many options you’ve to to liven up your landscape with the height and texture of healthy shrubs.
Here is a list of plants that do will in our region. As always, if you’re needing some help with your latest gardening project, JC’s Landscaping is always ready to assist!