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.
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.
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 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, 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, 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
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 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 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.
Have questions about your shrubs? Get in touch to schedule a complimentary consultation with our certified shrub care professionals.
"Speaking as Mayor of Briarcliff Manor, SavATree has contributed time to help protect some Hemlocks in our Law Park, which is really the showplace of our Village. They have also provided advice for the care of some of our sensitive park trees) i.e. a stand of Japanese Black Pine in a park jutting out in the Hudson River), and care of damaged trees along some of our roads. I wanted to bring this to your attention and thank SavATree for their efforts and contribution to improving the quality of life in our village. The Friends of Rockwood Park, the Rockefeller State Park and the public are indebted to SavATree for the time and effort it has contributed to rescuing these beautiful, valuable and very special trees."
Briarcliff Manor, NY
"I have been very happy with SavATree's services. In particular, their Arbor Patrol program gives me peace of mind knowing that someone is regularly scouting for insect, disease and structural issues before they accelerate and threaten the health of our trees and plantings."
"SavATree's crosscut sawing activity at Historic Hudson Valley's River Day festival at Van Cortlandt Manor was a wonderful addition to the event and a huge hit with our visitors. As always, your staff did a superb job- the skill with which they interact with the public is just extraordinary. All of us at Historic Hudson Valley are most grateful for SavATree's partnership, both as a steward of our historic landscape and as a presenter of dynamic programs that enliven our special events."
Wadell W. Stillman
Historic Hudson Valley, NY
"What touched me were the cooperative spirit and the energy and enthusiasm of the people at SavATree. There are so many institutions that are worthy of some kind of an altruistic spirit, and for our school to be selected for an Arbor Day activity is an honor. More then that, Steve Skyer and the people he works with spent a whole day with us. SavATree went out on a limb to plant and root a future for our school."
New Rochelle, NY
"Let me say that Vassar's association with SavATree has been very positive and we are achieving great success in managing our campus trees in terms of safety and aesthetics. And our insurance carrier is quite pleased with this effort. Vassar is pleased with SavATree and the work being performed on campus."
Jeffrey C. Horst, Vassar College
"The Pleasantville Country Club has had the benefit of SavATree's tree care services for more than ten years. Our experience with SavATree has been a very good one. We have found the staff to be very knowledgeable in all aspects of tree and shrub care. Equally impressive has been the reliability and enthusiasm of the staff members we have dealt with through the years."
Pleasantville Country Club Corporation, Inc.
It is with pleasure that I can comment on the work done recently by your great work crew. As they are representatives of your company, you are very fortunate to have such a polite, professional, and exceptionally safe work crew. Work conditions don't allow for conversation, and in spite of that, they were able to communicate via hand and eye signals that enabled them to work in a highly efficient manner. Their appearance, manners and excellent equipment, make for a winning combination.