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Shrubs add class

James St. John June 1, 2008 Home & Garden No Comments on Shrubs add class

Shrubs provide the framework that ties a home’s landscape together. Ornamental shrubs direct foot traffic, create backgrounds, as well as provide a smooth transition from tree canopy to ground level.

A shrub is usually a multi-stemmed woody plant shorter than 15 inches,
but this definition is not set in stone.

When selecting shrubs consider the mature size of the plant in relation to the size of the garden; a large plant in a small garden is not such a good idea.

Something else to consider in relation to the size of a plant is the placement. Don’t plant shrubs too close to walkways, entrances, driveways, or houses, which might contradict the intent of the shrub by impeding traffic or the shape of the shrub.

Some of the main purposes of selecting shrubs are to control wind and temperature, reduce noise levels, create shade, erosion control, privacy, and
attract wildlife.

Shrubs can manipulate the wind by creating a windbreak to redirect a summer breeze or block the harsh winter winds, or provide shade during a certain time of day or year.

By combining evergreen and shrubs, sounds can be absorbed
or deflected, but to be effective
the barrier should have leaves
or needles from the ground up.

In areas where erosion is a problem, such as slopes, try to select shrubs that have spreading surface roots such as  spreading junipers which also break up the rain. It may also help to mulch the area to help establish the plants.

Often overlooked in the home landscape is the symbiotic relationship between plants and wildlife.  Planting native shrubs provides food as well as shelter to local wildlife.

However, this may not always work out in your favour, since it is possible wildlife may ruin shrubs or plants.

In addition to the purpose of the shrub, there are also the features of the shrub to consider:

• form or the general shape of the shrub.
• foliage is one of the most important features of a plant since leaves come in a variety of colours, sizes, shapes, textures, and arrangement.
• most shrubs like perennials flower during a certain period of the year, so try to stagger different types of shrubs for seasonal interest.
• fruit which come in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures.
• bark is often overlooked but it can provide substantial interest during winter months.
• growth rate and lifespan is important when working with limited space or time.

Once you have decided on which shrubs to plant, now it’s time to get dirty.

As a general rule, shrubs can be planted as soon as you can get a shovel in the ground, but some exceptions do apply.  Spring is the best time to plant shrubs since it gives a whole season to establish a healthy root system.

To prepare the planting hole, you should dig a hole about one and a half to two times the depth and width of the container.  When the hole has been dug, it is a good idea to mix in any amendments such as triple mix and bone meal. Be sure to mix it all together and try to include some of the existing soil. Apply a little bit of water to the hole, then set the plant in. Turn the plant so the most desirable side is facing the viewing area. It is a good idea to stand back to get a better look.

It is important to plant the shrub at the correct height which is usually level with the existing soil around the rootball or in the container. If the shrub is planted too deep, it will likely cause problems later on.

Now that the plant is in the right location and height, fill in the rest of the hole with soil and make a depression around the whole shrub so that when you water, the water stays around the plant. Finish off by giving the shrub more water to get rid of some of the air pockets and water as necessary until the shrub is established.

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