Shrubs are an extremely diverse group of plants. They range in size from dwarfs to small trees and can be either deciduous or evergreen. They provide color, texture, seasonal interest, and depth to the landscape. The following are general guidelines for shrubs. Specific problems or questions should be directed to a horticulturist or extension agent.
- Most shrubs perform best in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
- Keep a fresh layer of mulch around shrubs to help retain soil moisture, keep weeds down, and add organic matter.
- Newly planted shrubs should be watered deeply 3-4 times/week during periods of extreme heat and drought. Deep watering is important to encourage strong root growth.
- Water 1-2 times/week in the spring and fall.
- Evergreen shrubs may need occasional watering during dry winters.
- Shrubs which flower in the spring, such as lilac, forsythia, and weigela should be pruned soon after they have finished flowering. Most spring-blooming shrubs flower on the previous season’s growth, so pruning them early in the year would mean removing flower buds.
- Shrubs, which bloom in the summer or fall, should be pruned while they are dormant. Some examples include abelia, crepe myrtle, hydrangea, and spirea. Most summer-blooming shrubs flower on the current season’s growth.
- Needled evergreens, such as pines, should be pruned while they are actively growing in the spring, and only new growth should be cut. Needled evergreens usually require little pruning, and most will not recover if pruned too heavily.
- Broadleaf evergreens, such as laurels and hollies, need very little pruning. If you do wish to shape them, it is best done in early summer.
- Evergreens, which are often planted as hedges, such as boxwood and yew, may need shaping throughout the growing season. They can be pruned lightly in the spring, summer, or fall.
Shrubs do not need to be fertilized at planting time. Regular additions of organic matter to the soil usually provide sufficient nutrition. Fertilizer can be applied to the soil surrounding the shrub if it appears weak or unhealthy in following years.
IT IS CRITICAL THAT ANY TWINE LEFT TIED AROUND THE ROOTBALL OR BASE OF THE PLANT IS CUT AND REMOVED WITHIN ONE YEAR OF PLANTING. The twine takes a long time to decompose, and will severely inhibit growth if not removed.
Plant Care Guidelines