Shrubs are ideal plants for landscaping purposes. Their shape and size provide shading during the summer, privacy against nosy neighbors and reduce wind speed during winter storms. Shrubs require little care, but they cannot be entirely neglected. Proper care ensures shrubs grow in the right shape and flower properly.
Shrubs require planting in wide, shallow holes. This promotes horizontal root growth, making the shrub stronger in cold weather and high winds. Well-draining soil is important in preventing root diseases and damage. Peat moss and other material should not be integrated into the soil when the shrub is planted, as differences in soil drainage can cause issues such as nutrient loss and root rot.
Shrubs require mulching to prevent moisture loss. Spreading of 2 to 3 inches of moss is sufficient for most shrubs. Moss should never touch the trunk of the shrub as this can cause moisture-related diseases and may attract pests.
Shrubs are susceptible to animal damage during the initial growing period and during winter months. Hungry rabbits are known to chew on the bark of some shrubs, weakening it and potentially causing disease. Shrub trunks require wrapping during the winter months. Wrapping material is available at most garden centers. Trunks require wrapping that goes slightly under the soil surface, and at least 12 inches above the year's projected snow line.
Pruning removes dead, damaged and diseased branches from a shrub and helps shape it into a desirable shape and height. Pruning also encourages the development of flowering blossoms and healthy growth. Cuts of branches should be 1/4 inch above the bud. This promotes new growth and prevents damage to good buds. Late in the dormant season is the most important time to prune a shrub.
Prunes require regular watering to maintain health during the summer. New shrubs should be watered twice a week for the first month, dropping to once a week up to the first year. Winter watering prevents damage during particularly dry winters and is required until the first deep frost. Soil should not be allowed to dry completely until the shrub is firmly established.