4 Shrub Care Tips

Your shrubs and small trees are an important part of your landscape design. You want to keep them healthy and looking great. The following landscape maintenance tips for shrubs can help you to achieve this goal.

Tip #1: Avoid bald spots

Evergreen shrubs, in particular, are prone to bald spots if they aren't pruned correctly. The issue is that the shrubs become woody in the interior, typically only producing needles or leaves on new wood toward the branch tips. If your trim a branch back too far, the leafing tip is removed and you end up with a bare branch that can't produce needles or leaves. Pruning annually so that shrubs don't become overgrown is the best way to ensure that you never need to cut back into the woody heart of the plant.

Tip #2: Shape appropriately

The right shape is also a must. If you are trying to create a formal hedge, it may be tempting to cut the top of the shrub perfectly flat. Unfortunately, a flat top shrub will collect snow in the winter. The weight of the snow can then cause the shrub to split, which may result in permanent damage. Instead, always round the top or cut at an angle so that any snow that collects on top can simply slide off. Tapering the bottom outward slightly is also recommended since this will allow sun and rain to reach the lower portions of the shrub.

Tip #3: Mulch shrub beds

Mulch keeps shrubs healthy and helps retain soil moisture so that drought stress is less of a concern. Spread mulch to an approximate 3-inch depth around the base of the shrub so that there is no bare soil. Then, pull back the mulch slightly so that it doesn't rest right up against the trunk of the plant. A small space prevents moisture in the mulch from causing the trunk to rot.

Tip #4: Get irrigation help

Water is the key component to keeping shrubs looking great. Those that are planted right into a lawn area may already receive sufficient moisture from the lawn sprinkler system. Those growing in separate beds and plantings, though, could benefit from drip irrigation. Drip lines deliver the moisture right to the soil instead of spraying down the shrub's foliage. This way, the water doesn't cover the foliage and cause mildew or fungal growth on the shrub.

For more help, contact a tree service or landscape maintenance service in your area.