Care of Shrubs


Shrubs are multistemmed plants that are available in various heights and widths to provide evergreen or deciduous foliage to a garden landscape. Some varieties also offer spring or summer flower blooms that add visual appeal. Shrubs are planted as privacy barriers, to define a property border, as a means to control erosion or to soften landscape areas that have strong lines. Plant shrub types with the correct height and texture for the garden area and are hardy in your USDA growing zone.

Step 1

Select a planting location for shrubs that has a well-draining and nutrient-rich soil. Most shrubs prefer full sunlight or partial shade, as long as there is at least 6 hours of direct sun on the plant.

Step 2

Plant shrubs in a hole that is the same depth and twice as wide as the container the plant came in. Work equal portions of organic compost into the removed soil to improve the nutrient value and water-draining properties. Set the shrub in the hole, and gently pack soil around the root ball.

Step 3

Water the shrub immediately after planting to stimulate root growth. Supply water regularly during the first growing season to keep the soil moist but not wet. Water established shrubs every 10 to 14 days by saturating the soil to a depth of 10 inches. Do not allow the soil to dry past 3 to 4 inches below ground level.

Step 4

Apply a 3-to-4-inch layer of mulch around the shrub to assist with moisture retention and limit weed growth that competes with the plant. Leave a 6-inch gap between the mulch and the stem of the plant.

Step 5

Fertilize shrubs with a water-soluble balanced fertilizer each spring. Most shrubs do not require heavy fertilizer applications. Do not mix manure or granular fertilizer into the soil around the roots, as this can burn the roots.

Step 6

Prune woody shrubs in the spring to remove dead and damaged branches. Prune to shape the shrub each spring if the variety requires this step. Do not remove more than one-third of shrub growth during the pruning session.

Step 7

Place a wire cage in late fall around shrubs that may receive winter damage from deer and rodents. Secure multibranched evergreen shrubs with twine and wrap with burlap in late fall for growing zones that receive snow accumulation.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Mulch
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Pruning clipper
  • Wire cage
  • Twine
  • Burlap


  • University of Minnesota: Care for Trees and Shrubs
  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs
  • Plant Care: Flowering Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: plant shrubs, grow shrubs, garden shrubs

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.