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Choosing Shrubs

Choosing the right shrub or ornamental tree for your landscape can get confusing. Selecting plants for your landscape based solely on appearance isn’t always a recipe for health and vigor. However, there are choices that can be are both beautiful and hardy.

A few key factors to take into account are:

  • Hardiness zone Not all plants flourish in all parts of the country. Familiarize yourself with plants native to your region and hardiness zone.
  • Soil status Your arborist can perform a soil test to ensure the proper conditions are present and assist with choosing a location with adequate sunlight and drainage.
  • Sun light and direction Does the shrub need full sun? Partial shade?
  • Drainage and watering How much water will the plant need, and how does your property handle rain?

While this may seem overwhelming, there are plenty of resources to assist you. SavATree arborists have great recommendations for installing the right plants in locations where they will be able to thrive for years to come.

Selecting the right shrubs creates a healthy, energy-efficient landscape with year-round beauty. Of course, monitoring and maintenance will still need to be performed to keep your property disease and pest free.

SavATree shrub service

Shrub and Ornamental Maintenance

Your shrubs and landscape are going to need care in order to flourish. To prevent pathogen spread and create conditions that are less favorable for pests and infestations, there are cultural practices that you can follow.

Preventative practices include:

  • Appropriate site selection
  • Proper planting
  • Removal of undesirable plants
  • Using diverse species on your landscape
  • Raised beds
  • Burlapping to protect against extreme conditions
  • Mulching
  • Timely pruning

Adjusting water and nutrition to your landscape depending on seasonal and weather variations helps too. These vital components can’t always be guaranteed naturally and may change periodically, but plants need consistency.

Putting sprinklers on a timer and making adjustments based on weather forecasts can not only ensure that your plants get adequate water but save you money. Testing your soil for nutrient levels and pH, meanwhile, will allow you to customize amendments for your landscape.

Common Diseases on Shrubs and Ornamental Plants

Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blight caused by the fungus, Cylindricladium pseduonaviculatum, can affect all species in the genus Buxus, although some cultivars are more susceptible than others. Foliar lesions will appear first, lesions on stems appear soon after. When the infection becomes severe, the plant will drop its leaves causing stress and eventual death.

Needle, Tip, Twig Blights

Needle, tip, or twig blights occur on arborvitae, cypress and juniper species turning tips of twigs and ends of needles brown or grey. Black, pimple-like fungal fruiting structures may develop on needle surfaces. These blights can be caused by fungi in the genera Phompsis, Diplodia or Coryneum.

Pachysandra Volutella Blight

Pachysandra volutella blight, a leaf blight caused by Volutella pachysandricola, targets Japanese pachysandra. Infected stems will become dark brown and black and die. In very wet conditions orangish-pink fungal spores will colonize the surface of dead stems. Brown and tan spots will develop on pachysandra leaves and eventually spread over the entire leaf. Concentric line patterns may be visible.

Common Pests in Shrubs

Boxwood Psyllid

The boxwood psyllid is a common pest of ornamental boxwoods and is capable of infesting all species. They only produce one generation per year; insects overwinter laying orangish eggs in between bud scales. Nymphs hatch early in the season and a white, waxy substance thought to protect them can cover the plant and can be detrimental to plant health. The psyllid’s feeding will result in cupping of this year’s foliage. White, powdery residue may be visible on young leaves and shoots.

Lacebug Insects

Lacebug insects affect susceptible evergreen species such as rhododendrons, azaleas and Andromeda. Damage from previous seasons will appear as yellow stippling on the underside of leaves and mold-colonized honeydew on stems. If lacebugs were present the preceding season, they may become an issue again.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are common pests with a broad spectrum of targets; fruit trees, vines, berries, vegetables and ornamental shrubs; both needled and broad-leaved. Spidermites hatch out early in the growing season but remain active for a long time. Damage from spidermites appears as yellowed stippling on foliage occurring in large patches on trees.

SavATree provides the following services:

savatree shrub pruning proper technique

Generally speaking, a good time for pruning shrubs is when they start to look untidy.

However, there is an optimal time for shrub pruning that depends on a host of factors, such the climate, species, habitat, and current health of the plant. Our ISA Certified Arborists take all of this into account when they visit your property.

boxwood blight dead leaves

Shrub disease protection begins with a comprehensive inspection of your landscape by one of our ISA certified arborists.

During this inspection, your arborist will be able to determine the overall health of the landscape and, if necessary, diagnose any disease or insect issues so that they can recommend treatment.

Here are some of the most common diseases and insects we find on shrubs and ornamentals.

Shrub fertilizer is a key part of maintaining the beauty of your landscape. Like all living things, shrubs require nutrients in specific amounts in order to grow strong and healthy.

However, often they are managed for aesthetics rather than health, which can result in excessive pruning, over or improper planting or inappropriate site selection. This in turn leads to less sunlight, reduced air flow, and decreased nutrients.

SavATree has a passion for tree and shrub care that promotes and protects environmental integrity. Our certified arborists understand the intricate relationships between plants, people, and wildlife, and the impact every individual property has on the community at large.

That’s why SavATree’s organic program uses exclusive ingredients reviewed by the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) under the same standards as the production of organic foods. We’ll recommend the products and treatment calendar for your landscape’s specific needs.

Have questions about your shrubs? Get in touch to schedule a complimentary consultation with our certified shrub care professionals.