The Care of Shrubbery


Shrubs fulfill a variety of purposes in the yard and landscape. Ornamental specimens make interesting focal points, while leafy varieties form attractive dividers and barriers as hedges in mass plantings. The size and shape of shrubs provide the appearance of a layering between smaller flowers and larger trees, creating an easy transition between these other landscape plants. Like other varieties of plants, shrubbery plants in the yard require sufficient care to flourish and thrive.

Step 1

Plant your shrubs in suitable locations within your landscape. Some shrubs, such as barberry, bottle brush and juniper shrubs prefer bright, sunny locations. Plant these in areas that receive a majority of daytime sunlight to encourage healthy growth. Don't plant sun-loving varieties of shrubs near trees that grow and block the sunlight as they mature. Some types of shrubs, such as hydrangea bushes require heavy amounts of shade, while mulberry bushes and wax myrtle bushes enjoy areas with both sunlight and occasional shade.

Step 2

Prune your shrubs to keep them healthy and looking attractive. Use sharp pruning shears to remove broken branches and diseased growth throughout the year. Shape your flowering varieties of shrubs in the spring, immediately after the blossoms fade. Trim evergreen shrubs in the winter to use as greenery in winter wreaths or arrangements. Remove just the overgrown segments and the tips of unshapely shrubs. Prune evergreen shrubs a second time in early summer, when new growth slows down. Regularly prune non-flowering shrubs in hedges throughout the growing season to maintain a uniform, manicured appearance. Remove just the outer tips when they begin to extend beyond the desired shape and perimeter of your shrub hedge.

Step 3

Apply water to the soil around your shrubs when they show signs of dryness. Although many mature shrubs require little supplemental water, some varieties need continual moisture. Consult the instructions with your shrub for the recommended watering schedule. Look for yellowing leaves and leaves with dry brown or yellow edges. This often indicates a need for additional water. Plants that lose their green leaves may require dryer soil to thrive. Check for moisture near the depth of the roots. Avoid light, frequent watering sessions that encourage shallow root growth on your shrubs.

Step 4

Fertilize your shrubs during periods of heavy growth and during blossoming periods. Use a liquid fertilizer on your blooming shrubs when buds begin to form. Purchase slow release granules to fertilize foliage shrubbery during the summer months. Select a fertilizer labeled for use with your variety of shrubs. Look for an evergreen fertilizer to ensure adequate levels of acidity in the soil around your evergreen shrubs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting your shrubs in areas with large tree roots. Trees often deplete the nearby soil of valuable nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Water
  • Fertilizer


  • North Carolina State University: Pruning Shrubs
  • Colorado State University: Deciduous Shrubs
  • "Gardening with Woodland Plants", Karen Junker, 2007

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University: Medium to Large Shrubs
Keywords: shrub care, care for bushes, prune shrubs

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.