Viburnum shrubs are available in several evergreen and deciduous varieties native to North and South America. The shrubs are hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 2 through 9, depending on the variety, and produce attractive flowers in spring and ornamental berries in late summer and fall. Viburnum shrubs grow up to a height of 12 feet and are commonly planted as a hedge or screen in garden landscapes.
Choose a planting location for the viburnum hedge with well-draining soil that is slightly acidic and has full sun to partial shade. A sandy loam-type soil with a pH of 5.6 to 7.0 is preferred. Test the soil to verify the pH number. Add ground rock sulfur and work it into the soil to lower the pH number. Water the soil generously and let it rest two weeks before planting.
How to Plant
Plant the viburnum hedge in the spring or fall when the temperatures are cooler. Dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball of the viburnum. Space the plants 3 to 5 feet apart for a hedge planting. Amend the removed soil by mixing equal portions of organic compost to increase the nutrient value and moisture retention properties. Place the plants in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is at ground level. Fill half the hole with amended soil and fill the remaining area with water. Gently pack amended soil around the root ball once all water has absorbed into the surrounding soil.
Care and Maintenance
Water the viburnum hedge daily for the first week after planting. Continue to apply supplemental water during the hot summer months to keep the soil moist but not wet when the weekly rainfall amounts are less than 1 inch. Apply a 2-to-3-inch layer of mulch around the plants each spring to retain moisture in the soil and control weed growth. Fertilize viburnum plants each spring with a 10-10-10 shrub and tree fertilizer. Prune the hedge after flowering is complete to control the shape. Cut and remove dead and damaged branches anytime during the growing season.
Propagate the viburnum hedge plants by taking new growth cuttings in early summer. Dip the cut edge into rooting hormone and stick it into a rooting tray filled with sterile rooting medium moistened with water at a depth of 1/3 the length of the cutting. Place the tray in a warm location with indirect sunlight. Monitor the moisture level of the soil to prevent drying during the rooting process. Transplant the stem cuttings to individual growing containers once the roots have reached a minimum length of 1 inch.
Monitor the viburnum hedge plants for fungus infections of leaf spot and root rot. Leaf spot appears as darkened spots on the underside of leaves that turn hard and dry. The leaves will eventually fall from the shrub. Root rot causes the stem base to turn dark and eventually chokes and kills the plant. Remove and destroy infected shrubs as there is no cure for the disease. Prevent an infection by watering at ground level without spraying water on the leaves. Do not allow water to pool around the base of the plant.