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How to Keep Your Southern Shrubs and Trees Thriving

Purple and pink hydrangea bushes.

Ornamental trees and shrubs add an undeniable beauty to a southern landscape. Because of their size, they can be a source of privacy without being overwhelming, and many shrubs, like hydrangeas, azaleas, and butterfly bushes, produce beautiful blooms to enjoy throughout the year. To simplify the science behind supporting your trees and shrubs, we’ve pulled together a short but comprehensive list of tips.

Select your shrubs with care. The first rule of (green) thumb is to be deliberate when choosing plants to add to your landscape. Note the areas where you plan to plant trees or shrubs and pay attention to the amount of sun those areas receive throughout the day. When you go to the garden center, select your plants with that fact in mind.

Pay attention to planting. Whether you’re transplanting from a previously potted plant or bringing home a new shrub from the nursery, making sure you’re planting correctly makes a difference in the health of your garden’s new additions. Dig the hole about the depth of the plant’s container, and then make it twice as wide. This will give it plenty of room to grow and allow its roots to successfully establish themselves in the soil.

Group like trees or shrubs together. Note how much water and light specific shrubs require, and plant those with similar needs near one another. When you water, you can spend more time in one area and less time in others. This will save you from spending unnecessary effort trying to meet each plant’s needs individually. It might also help you save on your water bill.

Keep them moist with mulch.  We’ve discussed the benefits of mulch often around here, and for good reason. By adding a layer of mulch around your newly planted shrubs, you can help suppress those pesky weeds as well as maintain moisture.  Just be sure not to be too heavy-handed; a two-to-three-inch layer is all you need.

Water them well. Make sure that your new plants are well-watered. If it doesn’t rain, aim to water about once per week. An inch’s worth of water should be plenty. Make sure to soak the soil in the area surrounding the plant as well. 

Prune, but do it carefully. Early spring is a good time to prune most trees and shrubs. That said, be sure to do some quick research on your specific plants before deploying the shears. Aim to prune only branches or stems that are dead or are holding on to a spent bloom. Trimming those will make way for new growth. Do one branch at a time to avoid damage to your delicate plants.

Battle pests and encourage new growth. Use insecticides and fertilizers to keep your plants healthy, but use them sparingly. While there are store-bought options available, our lawn service specialists are skilled in keeping ornamental trees and shrubs healthy. Our Gold, Gold Plus, and Platinum program options include fungicide, insecticide, and fertilizer treatments to ensure that your beautiful plants stay that way.

Trees and shrubs bring a ton of beauty to your landscape, and, with a little TLC, they’re sure to bring you pleasure all year long.