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Shrub Care- Selection and Maintenance

Woody shrubs serve many purposes in the residential landscape. For a long lasting effect in your yard, bushes should be selected that are high-impact, but low maintenance. These plants are used to ground a house or shed, as backdrop for perennial and annual flowers, and as understory for shade trees.
Choosing the right plant for each location and function is very important. Appropriate selection will increase the plants success and reduce yearly care, including bush trimming. When selecting a shrub to incorporate into your landscape there are several factors that should be considered.
--- Hardiness refers to a plants ability to overwinter and thrive in an environment. Many interesting plants can not handle cold temperatures and would die after a single season. Some choices may be invasive or so aggressive that they need frequent trimming.
--- Each bush has a prefered culture. This describes a plants preferences for amount of sun, water, wind, and other external forces that act upon that plant. When a plant is planted in an appropriate area it reduces stress and disease. Frequent shrub trimming or other care may be necessary if a plant is improperly located.
---The size and scale of the shrub as it grows will strongly affect how well it functions in a yard. Proper selection will reduce the need for repetitive trimming or removal. Many plant selections can change in size considerably over just a few seasons. Planning for this growth will help dictate planting density and understand how neighboring areas will be affected. We have all seen the hedge planted too close to a walkway or grown to cover windows. If the correct plant had been chosen at the start, this issue could have been avoided.

Over time, a plants shape changes. The natural growth habit of a plant is preferred, but eventually most shrubs will need to be reigned in a bit. Carefully pruning and trimming a shrub or ornamental tree can reinforce the natural habit, or strongly shape a plant.
Woody shrubs and ornamental trees form the foundations of a well designed landscape. The goal of our design process is to select the right plant for the space, ensuring a landscape that gets better with age. When we do bush trimming, we sometimes make suggestions to remove and replace entire plants to fine tune a landscape. Replacing improperly sited shrubs with a carefully selected varieties ensures greater future success.

Pruning vs. Trimming

To clean up a shrub or ornamental tree, sometimes it is necessary to both prune and trim. Just taking the new growth off the top will leave a messy looking tree. In the case of this crabapple tree, a pruning technique is used to carefully clean the base and help define the natural structure of the plant. Once the plant is opened up, the new growth can be trimmed to gently shape the canopy. In future seasons, this plants growth will look natural, but controlled. This type of care can add vertical dimension to your landscape.
If the tree or shrub is aggressively shaped as a gumdrop or lollipop, it will need to be maintained regularly to keep that shape. Often shaped shrubs and trees, like topiary, need attention several times throughout a growing season.

Irregular Shrub Growth

When a mass planting or hedge is planted over an area where there are different conditions there can be irregular growth. An example is a hedge grown where one end receives a full day of sun and the other end is in the shade. The difference can be quite striking. To restore integrity to the original landscape design, we plan our trimming carefully. Each shrub in the hedge is trimmed with the idea of what the hedge should look like in the future. The bushes in the shade are trimmed very little or not at all, while the shrubs in the sun are shaped more aggressively. Keep in mind that some shrubs do not respond well to aggressive trimming, such as evergreens. Improper trimming can leave you with bald spots. A professional, who understands the growth patterns of the plant material, can perform bush trimming seasonally that will manage these issues over time.

Knowledge and Experience

Using a professional company, like Scott Flanagan Landscape Inc., with knowledge and experience can enhance your existing landscape. Improper trimming and pruning can leave your landscape looking old, tired and worn in just a few seasons.
Our goal is to create a long lasting, low maintenance landscape for you. Many poorly planned residential landscapes need to be updated after only five years. Our designs are meant to grow and thrive to look better each year. Rejuvenating or enhancing existing landscapes can be very rewarding.

(The above client requested an estimate on shrub trimming. In addition, we gave them suggestions on what to remove, what to replant, and what to maintain. The end result is a landscape that looks better, will be easier to maintain, and will improve with age.)

With planning, careful pruning, and proper trimming, we can quickly give you a strong foundation for a high impact landscape. In Autumn, we add flowering perennials chosen for your site conditions. Perennials come back each year and we select specimens to add seasonal interest to compliment your landscape. Removing and replacing poorly chosen plants may be needed to update your landscape. With our expertise, your space could look better than ever in just a few short seasons!