Shrubs can add a fun design feature to any landscape, but some beginner gardeners avoid them out of fear that they are difficult to plant and care for over time. The truth is that there are some easy, low-maintenance shrubs that everyone can enjoy in their yard once they understand the proper way to plant them.
The best time to plant shrubs is during the fall or early spring as hot, summer months can often be too hard for a newly transplanted bush. This is especially true when you're planting a shrub that has bare roots rather than a root ball. A helpful tip is to avoid planting when the ground is exceptionally moist and muddy. Wet conditions can make it hard for you to maneuver around and get the root ball adequately covered.
Best Spot in Yard for Shrubs
Perfect spots for your shrub should get the proper amount of sunlight in addition to having the right type of soil for the shrub. You may want to prepare the ground for the shrub by enriching it with compost, peat moss, or other materials like an eco-friendly peat moss alternative. Additives like these are especially helpful if your existing soil has a high clay content. Don’t forget to clear the area if there are any grasses, weeds, or other growth. Remove enough of it so that your transplant won’t be competing with it as it’s getting established.
Next, you’ll want to prepare your hole. You don’t want to make the hole just big enough to add the root ball. In fact, you should have it about double the size in height and diameter. That way when you fill the hole back in, the soil will be loosened with air pockets that help your roots to expanded and grow to get firmly established.
Transplanting Shrub Roots
Place the root ball into the hole to make sure that you made it big enough. Take it out, and add in a dirt layer of compost or peat moss mixed with some soil underneath where the root ball will go. This mixture should be about half and half to encourage growth. Once you’ve added the soil, go ahead and put the root ball back into the hole and continue filling around the ball with your 50/50 mixture. You can add some fertilizer to this, but just a small amount as you don’t want to burn the roots of your new shrub. If you’re using rich compost, you really shouldn’t need to use any fertilizer.
The final step is to give your shrub a good dose of water. Be sure to keep it moist as it settles into its new home. You don’t want to let it dry out, especially during the heat of the summer.
Care for Your Shrubs
You shouldn’t have to prune your newly planted shrubs for a little while. That being said, spring is an excellent time to use your pruning shears to give your shrub shape as it’s coming out of dormancy for the coming spring as long as it’s not a flowering shrub. You’ll want to remove any dead stems from fresh growth. Flowering shrubs should be given a chance to flower before you prune them. Let them flower, and cut them back as this can often tell the bush to flower again.
As with when you planted them, your shrubs can often do well with just a layer of compost to feed them. However, if you have poor soil or the compost isn’t providing enough nutrition to your shrub, fertilizer may be necessary. Be sure to follow the directions to not over fertilize your shrubs.
Shrubs Great for Beginners
Great shrubs for beginners are those that are relatively low-maintenance and are hardy when planted in the appropriate zone. Some examples of shrubs that beginners can grow include hydrangea, Korean spice viburnum, fountain butterfly bush, bottlebrush buckeye, black chokeberry, juniper, summersweet, purple smoke bush, Chinese witch hazel, heavenly bamboo, spirea, loropetalum, Indian Hawthorne, Texas Ranger, Japanese barberry, and camellias.
Not sure which shrubs will do well in your yard? Talk to the experts at your local garden center or DIY store. They can help you with advice on what shrubs they have in stock grow well in your area and give you any further details on caring for that particular plant.
Shrubs can add a nice touch to your landscape whether you’re looking to add low-maintenance plants around your home or offer some privacy in the backyard. These basic instructions can help you to get them planted and growing right in your yard. The beautiful thing about shrubs is that there is such a wide variety of them that it can be easy to find the perfect look for your yard.