Caring for both trees and shrubs is basically done in a very similar manner. The one major difference though, is that a tree usually only has one trunk, whereas a shrub can have several stems or trunks. And the planting of both trees and shrubs can be a little different too, so let’s discuss the best way to plant shrubs in your home landscape.
It wasn’t all that long ago that getting shrubs that were not only beautiful but also hardy was difficult to do. But today, there are many more varieties available including hybrids that greatly expand the choices for most do it yourself home landscapers. You can now find appropriate shrubs that provide outstanding color, bloom in various seasons, cover spots that grass simply won’t grow in, and accomplish other purposes in your landscape design, no matter what region of the country you live in.
Shrubs stake out the middle ground in landscaping designs, as they are larger than flowers and yet smaller than trees. So they aid immeasurably in providing a varied and balance landscape theme. They can help soften the lines of a home, they can act as a decorative background for flowers, and they can even hide some things that you don’t want to be seen. On top of that, they add character and shape to a yard, allowing you to trim and cultivate them as you wish. They also tend to be able to grow and reach maturity very rapidly, and last a long time.
To plant shrubs, it’s usually best to choose early spring as the most favorable time. This gives the shrub a good long stretch of favorable weather in which to get well established. If you happen to live in parts of the country that are more mild year-round, you may be able to extend that planting season even into the wintertime. But generally speaking, for most parts of the country, springtime is when you want to start thinking about planting your shrubs for the next year.
The main reason for planting failure is dry roots and there are steps that can be taken to solve that After getting your shrub from the nursery, be sure to water it as soon as you can. It’s often best to keep them in shade at least at first, mulch the ground around them, and you may even decide to prune back the shrub at this point, depending on the age of the plant. The older the shrub, the more it will need to be pruned back initially. That’s why you often come out ahead of the game if you just buy less expensive, smaller shrubs to begin with. And although some plants like forsythia and azaleas can be moved while they are in flower, you should wait to move most shrubs until the flowering is done.
For some shrubs, who lose leaf moisture in the wintertime, you will need to be sure to water in the fall before the ground freezes. These include azaleas, rhododendron, and certain broadleaf evergreens.
Some folks are very hesitant to prune shrubs, but actually this helps keep them young and vigorous. Try to prune out the older branches first, and cut as close to the ground as you can. Many shrubs need pruning almost every year, especially if they have dead branches left over from wintertime, such as hydrangeas, deutzias, and privets. Others just need to head their flower heads pruned off after blooming like azaleas, magnolias and rhododendron.
With just a little bit of time and attention as mentioned above, you can insure that your shrubs stay looking beautiful year in and year out, and always reflect well on your landscaping design.