Fantastic Five for Fall Foilage

Woody shrubs and trees can bring brilliant color to the fall season. This spring, when planning your landscape designs, here are five Idiot Proof Plants for a great multi-season color in the garden or landscape. Uncle's Idiot Proof shrubs have proven to be the most reliable, plants to use in your next landscape project.
Fothergilla: Mt. Airy is a dwarf fothergilla growing 2' to 3' tall and about the same spread. They prefer full sun to part shade but will flower the best in full sun. Bottlebrush like spiked flowers bloom in spring (April-May) before leaves appear. Oblong green leaves have a toothed edge at the point and turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall. 
Itea: Little Henry's Sweetspire, a dwarf Virginia sweetspire. Extremely hardy for the midwest region and growing 2'-3' tall and near the same spread. Best grown in full sun to part shade; Sweetspire can tolerate some wet soil conditions. Fragrant spires of tiny white flowers cover the shrub blooming in late spring to early summer. Oval green leaves turn shades of orange, red and purple in the fall, can be shaped and trimmed for foundations or borders.
Clethra: Ruby Spice clethra is a deciduous shrub growing best in full sun to part shade, can tolerate heavy shade and wet soils. Growing 4'-6' high and 3'-5' spread. Fragrant rose-pink bottle-brush like flowers bloom from July to August and perfect for butterfly gardens. Oval dark green leaves turn an elegant yellow/gold in fall. 
Viburnum: Uncle's favorite Idiot Proof Plant. Many good varieties, just too many to list. A few of our most popular are the Juddi, Leatherleaf, Double-File, Eastern Snowball and Korean Spice. You can find a viburnum in all shapes and sizes to fit almost any growing conditions. Most varieties will have fragrant spring blooms in white or pink tones. Dwarf viburnum varieties are available; however, the most common viburnum varieties will average 6'-8' high and wide.
Oakleaf Hyrdrangea: Bold fragrant conical white flowers with pink overtones at the ends of the branches from early to mid-summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green foliage which emerges grayish green in spring. The large fuzzy lobed leaves turn an outstanding brick red in the fall. The peeling brick red bark and spectacular fall color make the oakleaf hydrangea the perfect choice for a large garden or mass planting.

"When is the best time to plant a tree or shrub?" It's a popular question at Grass Pad nurseries. A light-hearted response would be "20 years ago" but, the very next best time is today. Fall is the perfect season for new shrub and tree installations. Trees and shrubs suffer less transplant shock when planted during dormancy in the fall. Think about planting a dormant tree or shrub, like a removing a sleeping child from the back seat of the van after a long trip. You can pick the kid up move them around, take them out of the van, change their clothes and put them to bed without ever waking till the next morning, or in the case of a tree or shrub, next spring.