Whether you’re landscaping a brand new yard or making updates to your current one, shrubs are the perfect addition. They’re beautiful, easy to care for and add some extra privacy to your property. If you’re planning to plant shrubs this year, here are some quick tips.
What Are Shrubs?
A shrub is a perennial woody plant that is smaller than a tree and has several major branches arising from the base of the main stem. When it comes to choosing shrubs, you can choose between flowering, non-flowering, or a combination of both.
Popular flowering shrub varieties:
- Butterfly Bush
Popular non-flowering shrub varieties:
Tip #1: Know Your Climate
Choosing shrubs based on your local climate is the key to successful plants. For arid climates, like the Western United States, go for manzanita, juniper, lilac, boxwood, or cliffrose, as these plants have adapted to survive in a dry environment. If you live somewhere wet or humid, like the Southern United States or Pacific Northwest, hydrangea, rhododendron, dogwood, and butterfly bush thrive in the heat and humidity.
Tip #2: Fertilize Your Shrubs
Fertilize your shrubs in fall (September or October) and spring (between March and early May). Highly concentrated, slow-release shrub fertilizer promotes deep green foliage and larger blooms on flowering shrubs. Do not fertilize shrubs if they are dehydrated, as this will prevent plants from absorbing nutrients. When applied in the early years, fertilizer can quickly speed up shrub growth and help plants fill in their designated space.
Tip #3: Prune at the Right Time
The rules for pruning shrubs are pretty straightforward. For flowering shrubs, prune immediately after the first bloom, and for non-flowering shrubs, prune in late winter or early spring. Never prune any shrubs after mid-August. As you’re pruning, pay attention to what you’re cutting. Focus on dead wood, large older stems, and conflicting branches to keep healthy branches safe and control the size of shrubs.
Tip #4: Regular Watering
Shrubs grow deeper root systems than flowers, so they draw water from a more significant amount of soil. That means they don’t need watering as often as other plants, but it should be a thorough dousing when they are. Slowly apply water to the soil using a slow-flowing hose or drip irrigation system to penetrate the root system. You want to make sure the water soaks in and reaches the roots.
Tip #5: Pest Control
As with any outdoor plant, there are a variety of insects who think shrubs are super tasty. Insects that feed on leaves include beetles, caterpillars, leaf-cutting bees, earwigs, aphids, and ladybugs. If you want to avoid toxic pesticides, there are natural ways to deal with insects. Organic garden lime is a rock powder that can be easily sprinkled onto the soil. It dries out insects’ moist body parts and makes the soil inhospitable for them. You can also spray your shrubs with DIY insect sprays made from ingredients like vegetable oil and mild soap, garlic and onion, or chili pepper powder.