A good time to plant shrubs is in the fall or early spring, so the shrub has time to acclimate before the harsh weather of winter or summer. Most shrub roots spread widely rather than deeply, so digging a hole wider than the roots of the shrub you’re planting is more beneficial, keeping in mind to not deep any deeper than the root ball. Free up some of the roots from being contained in the pot allowing them to spread. Add in some compost with the soil from the hole and use this to re-fill. Ensure the roots of the shrub are well watered. Adding a root enhancer at planting time will help create a better root system. Planting a shrub properly will give it a healthy head start on a productive life. After planting use your foot or shovel to tamp down the soil around the shrub leaving a basin which will help collect water. Cover a wide area around the shrub with wood chips or mulch to help keep down weeds and to conserve moisture. During the first growing season water every 7-10 days if rainfall is not abundant.
Pruning is essential to a plants health, beauty, and safety. Regular and correct pruning will help encourage new healthy growth. Remove any damaged, diseased, or dead parts. When left on the plant, these parts will attract insects and invite diseases to develop.
Early-spring bloomers, such as lilac, forsythia, and rhododendron, bear flowers on wood formed the previous year. The best time to prune them is late spring — immediately after they finish blooming. If you prune them later in the growing season or during winter, you’ll remove flower buds and decrease the amount of spring bloom.
Shrubs that bloom during the summer and into fall such as potentilla and butterfly bushes, produce their flowers on new growth from the current season. They are best pruned in early winter while they are dormant or in early spring just before their annual growth begins. Refrain from fall pruning because it stimulates new growth which could be killed by the winter cold. Use sharp tools to make a clean cut and avoid tearing the stem. Leaving a stub or tear after trimming provides an entry spot for pests and disease.
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