Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Shrub Blog Series - Part One - Introduction

Why plant shrubs? Aside from the obvious answer, which is to improve the aesthetic of your property, there are plenty of functional reasons to establish plantings in your yard. They can assist with erosion-control, improve the amount of oxygen around your residence, and help your local ecosystem thrive. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for King Arthur and his team to get the ball rolling like the fellow above. With the help of your local nursery, you can start planning a multi-dimensional landscape that will wow your friends and family!

Shrub/Planting Types:
  1. Foundation Plantings: These types of plantings hug your house, both enhancing your home and complementing your landscape. This can visually link your house to the surrounding landscape, hide any unsightly fa├žade areas, and help prevent flooding!
  2. Privacy Plantings/Screening: These are [usually] tall shrubs to block out unwanted views and act as a natural fence. They will cost you less than a fence installation in most cases, but come with more maintenance than a fence.
  3. Border Plantings/Edging: These plantings are used to outline and distinguish sections of your yard and/or flower beds and will establish wonderful dimension in your landscape. Primarily aesthetic in purpose, but they can also help prevent your beds from washing out during heavy rain.
  4. Ground Cover: These low-growing shrubs usually have a spreading habit and are perfect for large beds or landscapes. They can also reduce the amount of turf you have to mow, and may thrive better in harsh soil or environments where you may have difficulty growing grass.
  5. Specimen or Accent Plants: These are the plants to liven up your landscape! They are often chosen for interesting appearance or fragrance, but may serve an additional purpose such as framing a walkway. Usually showy in appearance, they are placed within your landscape strategically as focal points.
  6. Specialty Plantings: The “miscellaneous” category, these plants may vary in appearance and function and include: (1) Salt-tolerant plants for street-side plantings; (2) Container shrubs for apartment living or decks; (3) Shrubs for full shade; (4) Shrubs for full sun.

General Shrub/Planting Tips:
  1. Choose shrubs which have seasonal interest across four seasons, or rotating seasonal interest. See our article on creating seasonal interest.
  2. Leave space for the plants to mature so they don’t overcrowd one another and be aware of how tall they will be at maturity (be prepared to prune!)
  3. Be mindful of growth rates and maintain shrubs which may have invasive qualities.
  4. Plant shrubs in the fall or early spring to ensure proper root establishment.
  5. Choose native shrubs for maximum growth and lowest maintenance.
  6. Be aware of what maintenance is required of your plantings to ensure they survive all four seasons and any extreme weather conditions which might occur. See our article on winterizing your yard.
  7. Talk to a local nursery! They can give expert advice tailored to the conditions of your yard and desired maintenance level.

In part two, we will go over more specifics of Foundation Plantings, including some recommendations of our top choices!

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