This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In many parts of the Northern States the leaves will have changed color previous to the incoming of Winter, and the planting of trees and shrubs will commence as soon as the first Fall showers shall have cooled the atmosphere and moistened the soil. Further south, where the season will still remain "Summer" a while longer, the soil may, at any rate, be prepared, that all may be in readiness when the right season does come. What leaves remain on should be stripped off, and the main shoots shortened. They will then do better than if planted very late. The roots of plants grow all Winter, and a plant set out in the Fall has the advantage over Spring set trees, that its roots in Spring are in a position to supply the tree at once with food. This is, indeed, the theory fall planters rely on; but in practice it is found that severe cold dries up the wood, and the frosts draw out the roots, and thus more than counterbalance any advantage from the pushing of new roots. Very small plants are, therefore, best left till Spring for their final planting.
It is, however, an excellent plan to get young things on hand in Fall, and bury them entirely with earth, until wanted in Spring. Such things make a stronger growth the next season, than if just dug before transplanting.
All successful planting really depends on how soon the mutilated roots can draw in moisture to supply the waste of evaporation, hence if a tree has been badly dug and has few roots or the roots appear dry or weak, lessen the demand on them for moisture by cutting away some of the branches. In this cutting take the weak branches, and not the strong and most vital ones, as are often stupidly sacrificed, and above all see that the earth is tightly packed about the roots, for, unless the earth is in actual contact with each rootlet the work is not perfectly done. If there is a rootlet which even by a hair's breadth does not touch the earth, that rootlet might as well not be there.
American gardening will in time come to be peculiarly charaterized by grouping of shrubs and trees instead of the absurd copying of European flower beds not adapted to our wants or climate. Studies for such work will be particularly in order now as the leaves are changing-their Summer green.