July 1, 2020

Ornamental trees and shrubs can add beauty, diversity, and character to your yard. Azaleas, butterfly bushes, and hydrangeas, among others, produce attractive blooms all year. Both shrubs and trees can be arranged to provide shade and privacy. If you’re considering these additions, here’s a short list of tips for selecting and maintaining them.

Use sunlight to plan.  Consider the variation in the amounts of natural light that various areas of your lawn receive. This is the single most important factor in planning your design. A little research will help you identify the varieties that will thrive under the conditions that you have to offer them.

Use the right planting technique. Whether you’re relocating a plant from a pot or bringing home a new arrival from a nursery, the basic approach is the same. Dig a hole that is approximately as deep as the plant’s container or root ball and twice as wide. The extra space will allow roots to get established, increasing the chances that the plant will be healthy in the long term.

Place similar trees and shrubs near each other. Above we noted the importance of arranging plants according to their respective needs for light. The same principle applies to water. If you place plants with similar needs near each other, you can water more efficiently. You may even find that you use less water and save money.

Mulch, but not too much. We know it seems like we’re always talking about mulch; that’s because it’s important. A layer of mulch around newly planted shrubs will help to keep soil moist and discourage weeds. The temptation to pile it too high is always present. Two to three inches is the right amount.

Water thoroughly. Just as with grass, an inch of water each week is the general rule. If rain hasn’t been sufficient, water trees and shrubs about once per week. In addition to the soil near the plant, be sure to soak a circle a little further out as well.

Prune strategically. The best time to prune most trees and shrubs is early spring. To be sure that your specific trees and shrubs are among that group, do a little research before you begin. Prune only branches or stems that are dead themselves or attached to a dead bloom. Removing these will create space for new growth. To minimize potential injury to plants during this process, it’s best to remove a single branch at a time.

Go easy on insecticides and fertilizers. Every homeowner is familiar with the wide range of options in these categories. While guidelines are always provided, many people still find it difficult to avoid thinking “more is better.” Our lawn specialists are trained and experienced in maintaining the health of ornamental trees and shrubs. Our Turf & Shrub and Turf & Shrub Plus programs include carefully balanced fertilizer, insecticide, and fungicide treatments to keep all of the elements of your landscape looking their best.

If you have questions about ornamental trees and shrubs, we’re always happy to help. With the right kind of attention, you can ensure that these attractive additions stay healthy for years to come.