Balled and burlapped: The best time for planting bare root and balled and burlapped deciduous shrubs is mid-autumn, soon after their leaves drop. The next best time is late winter or early spring while they are still dormant, as soon as the soil is free of frost and dried out from melt and spring rains. At these times the soil is warm enough to encourage root growth, even though the air may be cool. Shrubs can put their energy into establishing strong root systems in the soil before they have to divert it into producing foliage.
The best time for planting evergreen shrubs is also in late winter or early spring, although narrow-leaved, or needled, evergreens may also be planted in the early fall. Since their foliage is already in place, and they add or replace only a fraction of it each spring, they have energy available for root growth during all the cool months.
Containerized: Plant containerized shrubs anytime the soil is not frozen. Since the roots are already secure in the soil in the container they have the least adjustment to make in their new site. However, avoid planting in very warm weather. If you must plant during a hot spell, choose a day that is overcast or plant in the late afternoon or early evening.