Shrubs are a great way to add beauty and dimension to your yard, and most can thrive for decades with a little know-how and basic care.
Knowing your Shrubs
Whether you plan on adding more shrubbery to your landscape or merely want to learn how to maintain the plants you have, identifying your shrub species goes a long way toward proper care. Different species and cultivars have varying requirements for soil, water, temperature, and sunlight. The USDA has assigned plant species to hardiness zones to help gardeners choose appropriate vegetation. If you would like help identifying a specific shrub, this plant dictionary might be useful. Native shrubs are always an excellent choice because they are perfectly adapted to your particular climate and can better accommodate native wildlife.
Before planting zone-appropriate species, consider the microclimates of your yard; for example, some areas of the yard may be in constant shade from tall trees or buildings, or in direct sun all day. Some spots might accumulate or lose water more than others. Decide where you would like to see shrubbery and then choose your species. If a shrub in your yard is failing to thrive, it might require transplanting to a new spot.
Caring for Your Shrubs
Some shrubs remain compact and manageable, while others can boom into small trees. Pruning is an excellent way to shape your plants and encourage thicker foliage and blooms in the spring and summer. It may help to study up on pruning for your particular plant, since some may require more vigorous or specific maintenance than others.
Watering frequency is key to healthy plants. If your area experiences a lot of rainfall, you may hardly need to water. In drier climates, however, it is essential to soak the soil around the base of your shrubs regularly. Although species vary, most shrubs require deep watering at least once a week. Newly planted shrubs will require more frequent watering than established shrubs because they are still developing a root system.
Enjoy the process! Choosing and caring for the shrubs in your yard can be a very educational and rewarding experience. If you need some extra help, consider one of our shrub and tree care programs to help you protect your investment.