Although not an exact science literature states that particular shrubs and trees struggle with fall digging and planting. Literature put out by the American Association of Nurserymen (AAN), University of Massachusetts Extension (UMass Extension), Horticulture Magazine and even some nurseries list problematic species in various ways. The AAN lists many favorites like Acer rubrum/Red Maple, all Betula/Birch, Platanus acerifolia/London Planetree, all Pyrus/Pears, all Quercus/Oaks, all Zelkova/Zelkova among a handful of others. A 2001 printing of UMass Extension's “Hort Notes” categorizes the species in terms of “successfully established in the fall” and “difficult to establish in the fall”. A September 1987 article in Horticulture Magazine groups plants according to their “significant risk of loss”, “some degree of risk”, and “not at great risk”. Although the resources are more or less comprehensive, many of the same plants appear in each. It is prudent to take note and to plan accordingly.
In conclusion, if planting in the fall cannot be avoided care must be taken to monitor plants carefully and regularly, water thoroughly and frequently and allow sufficient time (6-8 weeks) for root systems to establish prior to the first frost. Then cross your fingers and hope for good weather!