Shrubs are considered as the backbone of a great-looking garden. They lend a pop of color and texture to the space by producing attractive flowers and foliage and interesting shapes year-round. Although shrubs require less work compared to other plants and are actually hardy in nature, they nevertheless need constant care to stay in tip-top shape. So, if you’re tending to shrubs in your garden, here are some useful tips you can use to give them the tender loving care they need.
Inspect and prune
Like other plants, shrubs are susceptible to diseases, which is why it is important that you regularly look after them to keep diseases at bay. Inspect your shrubs for dead, diseased and damaged stems, crossing branches and overgrowth. Then, prune these problem parts as they can invite and transfer diseases to other plants. Shrubs that produce several shoots from the ground require the removal of older ones from time to time to allow better growth and produce strong young shoots. Mushrooms aren’t usually a cause for concern unless they’re growing in clumps near the trunks of shrubs. In such case, they can be an indication of root rot or decay so watch out for them while doing your inspection.
Get the soil tested
Every fall, it is best to take samples of your garden soil for nutrient analysis. This way, you will know if there is an imbalance in your lawn and be able to feed the soil with the right amount of fertilizer. For instance, if the soil where your shrubs are planted shows nutrient deficiency, it will be wise to use slow-release fertilizer over the soil during winter, so that the nutrients will be released by spring.
Cover with mulch
To insulate your shrubs and give them enough time to grow and improve their ability to take sufficient amounts of water and nutrients, cover their soil with organic mulch. Over winter, mulch serves as a protective layer that reduces shrub root drying and also helps improve the structure of the soil.
Proper distribution is important when applying mulch. There should be no mulch right at the stems of the shrubs, and you should gradually increase the application from 1 to 2 inches thick as you go along the shrubs’ drip line or their crowns’ outer projection. Resist the urge to pile a large mound of mulch at the base of the shrubs. If you do, the mulch will trap too much moisture which can cause rotting and disease.
Keep pests at bay
Some pests are attracted to shrubs, attacking them especially during spring and summer, and they can still cause a problem even as the weather cools. If you suspect that your garden shrubbery is infested, consider calling a professional for an assessment so as to prevent the pest from attacking other plants and for you to get the right solution to the problem at hand.
Shrubs need to be transplanted or repotted to give their roots more space to grow. Hence, consider doing this to promote growth and let your shrubs have a better environment where they can absorb moisture and nutrients.
Fall is usually the best time to transplant shrubs because the plants do not support too much leaves and will permit their roots to grow. However, you must also be careful when transplanting during this season as there are some shrubs that don’t like to be moved during winter. Before you transplant anything, do a research first about these fall planting hazards as you might have some of them in your garden.
Shrubs that are exposed to high winds, too much sun or salt should be protected to avoid injuring them. Hence, wrap their trunks with burlap trunk wrap or paper before winter sets in. You can also create a windshield by placing stakes into the ground and attaching the burlap to the poles. By early spring, before the shrubs start to grow, you should remove the coverings so as to avoid damaging their branches.
If, in the past, you’ve encountered branch break due to heavy snow loads, consider tying your shrubs with twine. Start on a low branch then move upward, gently folding the branches. This is highly recommended for delicate shrubs.
The guest post above was penned by Ericka in behalf of www.mcintyremasonry.co.uk Ericka is passionate about gardening and home improvement, inspiring her to write useful posts about these two subjects.