Dormant shrubs are usually sold as bare root plants at the nursery. Make sure that the shrub you purchase has its roots buried in moist sand or sawdust to ensure that they aren’t dry. When you purchase your shrub, ask the salesclerk to dip the roots into water and place a plastic bag around them to keep them moist on the ride home. You can plant shrubs at any time of the year, except when the ground is frozen.
Work the soil with the gardening fork by digging into it to a depth of 12 inches, turning it and crushing any large clods. Remove any old roots or rocks that turn up.
Lay down a 3-inch layer of compost and work it into the soil.
Dig a hole the same depth that the shrub had been growing (this will be evident by a darker color on the trunk, near soil level) and wide enough to accommodate the roots.
Create a cone-shaped pile of dirt in the center of the hole. Place the shrub in the planting hole on top of the cone, and spread the roots down the sides of the cone. Pack them into the soil.
Back fill the hole halfway, using your fingers to work the soil into the roots. Then fill the hole the rest of the way.
Build a moat around the shrub by compacting and mounding a ring of soil. This should be 2 to 4 inches in height, 5 to 8 inches in width and extend 2 feet from the base of the shrub.
Fill the moat with water immediately after planting. Since the shrub is dormant it won’t need to be watered often. When the soil feels dry to a depth of 2 inches, water the shrub.