Shrubs can make your landscaping look great if they are properly cared for. If they are let to their own devices, they can make your house look like a jungle. Shrubs are actually not all that difficult to take care of. Here are five ways that you can keep your shrubs looking great:
5) Use a pesticide. If your shrub has bugs, you need to get rid of them. There are a slew of homemade pesticides that you can make with simple household chemicals. One such simple pesticide is water and dishwashing detergent. Just mix them together and spray your shrub. If the bugs are resistant to homemade pesticides, you should consult a nursery as to how get rid of the offending bugs. If you go this route, make sure to bring one of the bugs (preferably dead!) with you to the nursery.
4) Weed. A shrub surrounded by weeds will have a tough time thriving. The weeds will rob your shrub of water and nutrients and, if they grow large enough, sunlight. If the weeds are too big for you, you might want to spray them with a weed killer to make them a little easier to pull. Just make sure not to spray too close to the shrub.
3) Prune. Some people enjoy the natural look when it comes to their shrubs and intentionally let them grow to their maximum size. While this can look nice with certain ornamental shrubbery, there are a lot of bushes out there that will grow to such a size that they look like monsters.
To prune effectively, you need to prevent your shrub from crowding into any plants alongside it, and you need to give it some sort of shape. If the shrub you are pruning has not been pruned in ages and is growing several inches, or even feet, into the plants next to it, this will take a while. It may take several trims to get your shrub looking nice. Just trim enough off that you take out overgrown material without creating a bare spot.
As to shape, this is personal preference, but for those just starting out, squares are the easiest shape to prune. Creating a globe shape requires some talent, but with a little practice you can give your shrub that round look. I suggest using smaller pruning shears for a globe shape, as larger shears make it more difficult to create a precisely rounded edge.
Other shapes are possible, including topiaries, which can look almost statue-like. Unless you yourself are a professional, I would leave pruning these works of shrub art to somebody else.
2) Fertilize. Most shrubs don’t need a lot of fertilizer. Depending on your soil, though, you might need to give your shrub some fertilizer. In general, if your shrub is properly watered and receiving enough sunlight, it should grow. If your shrub is not at its full size but is not growing despite proper water and sunlight, give fertilizer a try.
There are many commercial products available, but you still can’t beat the basics. I’m referring to manure and/or composted material. These are both cheap and effective and will work in 99% of shrubs. The exception to this is shrubs that require high amounts of acid. You will need to find a nursery or garden center to get special fertilizer engineered for acid-loving (often referred to as ericaceous) plants.
1) Water. This might seem obvious, but there are those out there that seem to think rain is all that a shrub will ever need. All shrubs need some water, but determining just how much might present a challenge. If you purchased the shrubs yourself, there should be a tag on it telling you how much light and water the shrub requires.
However, if you are caring for a shrub that you didn’t plant, you’ll have to figure out what it is. The library is a good resource for this endeavor. Most libraries have books that show pictures of plants commonly grown in your area. Once you’ve identified your shrub, the book should have all the information regarding watering that you need.
If you can’t find your shrub in a book or online, you might need to ask a professional. I would suggest taking a photo or two of your shrub and going to a local nursery. Ask one of the nursery professionals what your shrub is and how much water it needs.
Those tips aren’t so tough, right? Aside from weeding, which is probably the most labor-intensive and my least favorite, they don’t require too much expertise or strength. So give it a shot! With only a modest amount of effort you can get your shrubs looking magazine-cover beautiful.