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Care of Shrubs and Bushes

You think immediately of pruning and overwintering when you hear talk about the care of shrubs. Indeed, I discuss these jobs in the articles here. But what you might not think of is the importance of selecting the right bushes, to begin with. By picking the right shrub for the right spot, you're reducing the need for "intensive care" right away!
  1. Common Care Problems (4)

Shrub Problems
Readers have emailed me about numerous types of shrub problems over the years. Some of the more common shrub problems I hear about concern flower buds (e.g., flower buds failing to open) and the presence of yellow leaves -- not as fall foliage, but in summer. Read this FAQ to view my solutions to common shrub problems.

Caring for Garden Shrubs
Learn about caring for garden shrubs, including how to prune them. The article begins by pointing you to resources helpful for selecting bushes.

Pruning Shrubs
If you are like many people, the aspect of the care of shrubs with which you are least enamored is pruning. Pruning is scary, because it is so final (once the limb is gone, it is gone, period). But the tips in this article will school you in the art of pruning. For example, learn what a "branch collar" is and why it matters.

Wind Damage, Tree Wrap and Winter Lawn Care
Care of bushes in winter poses a number of challenges. It is not just cold temperatures you have to worry about: do you know about "winterburn," what causes it and how to prevent it? I supply tips here on protecting plants from drying winds and snow and ice damage through the use of tree wrap, shelters, etc.

Protecting Bushes in Winter
Do you wish to cut to the chase when it comes to sheltering bushes in winter, rather than browsing through the resources in the prior entry? Then this tutorial may be for you. It will be especially helpful for those trying to care for shrubs on a budget, since I show you how to build a winterizing shelter basically for free.

Transplanting Trees and Shrubs: Step-by-Step Guide
To maximize your chances of transplanting a shrub successfully, you might want to go beyond just digging a hole in the ground and plopping it in. Read these tips on transplanting trees and shrubs to raise your game to a somewhat more sophisticated level. The (seemingly) smallest things can make all the difference in growing bushes.

Pruning Shrubs Into Hedges
Although hedges are not quite as popular with the "in crowd" in landscaping as they used to be, I still marvel at the concept of taking a bunch of bushes and turning them into a living wall (then again, I always tend to be something of an outsider in my attitudes). Hedges can make your landscape more private, more secure, more beautiful.

Review: Electric Hedge Trimmers
Now that you are reading all this information about the care of shrubs and hedges, maybe you're considering planting your first hedge. Care for a hedge entails, in part, shearing it, and for longer hedges, this task is typically accomplished with power equipment. While there are gas-powered hedge trimmers, many prefer electric types; I review one here.

Review: Ratchet Pruners Make Care of Shrubs Easier
Think pruners are pruners? Think again. How would you like to ratchet up your hand strength when pruning the thick branches of a bush? Well, ratchet pruners allow you to do exactly that. This fact makes them a preferred choice in pruners among those who have problems with their hands (or wish to obviate such problems).

When to Prune Shrubs
When you should prune shrubs depends on the type of bush in question. That is, it makes all the difference in the world if a bush is, say, an early spring bloomer vs. a summer bloomer. Likewise, you have to distinguish between evergreen and deciduous bushes. I grapple with these issues here.

When to Prune Shrubs and Trees
When do you prune flowering shrubs and trees? It is one of the care questions I'm most often asked, because folks want to be sure before they start lopping off anything! While most shrubs and trees that flower in spring should be pruned after blooming, this does not hold true for all. About's Gardening Guide provides a handy list of common landscape trees and shrubs and when to prune them.

Beetle Control
While not all beetles are bad, some of them can do tremendous amounts of damage in the landscape. Vanessa Richins offers useful advice on beetle control in this article on tree and shrub care. For instance, Vanessa warns, "Don't leave newly cut firewood nearby, as this will provide a place for the beetles to breed."

Pruning Large, Overgrown Lilacs
Remember how magnificent your lilacs once looked? Are they looking shabby now? Learn how to rejuvenate them using advice from the Iowa State University Extension. Both a severe-prune method and a less drastic type of pruning are described.

Shrub Pruning
Thinning out, gradual renewal and rejuvenation are the three categories of pruning considered in this article by the University of Arizona Extension. A further division is outlined between shrubs that bloom on last season’s growth and shrubs that bloom on the current season’s growth. Shrubs can enhance the property value of your real estate.

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