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Home Shrubs and Trees
Shrubs and Trees PDF Print E-mail

Sometimes it’s difficult to make the distinction between a tree and a landscaping shrub. Generally, a landscaping shrub has several stems instead of a single trunk.

Shrubs and trees should be a part of every permanent garden because they:

  • give shape and background to the garden
  • provide seasonal change that can last for generations
  • provide a nesting site for birds
  • can provide screening and ‘walls’ for outdoor rooms
  • can be used to define your property’s edge
  • provide shade for you or your house and shelter for plants
  • can serve as windbreaks
  • some shrubs, like heather, can serve as groundcovers
  • can be arranged to form restful garden sanctuaries
  • can fill vases with cut flowers or foliage
  • have colorful bark for winter interest
  • trees and shrubs which loose their leaves in fall and winter create varying lighting effects
  • evergreen varieties can add the touch of green that some gardeners hunger for all winter long

A landscaping shrub offers an endless variety of silhouettes, from creeping to columnar. It can be either solidly massive or wispy and light.

For those gardeners who like a formal architectural look, a landscaping shrub can be clipped and groomed into precise geometric shapes.
When choosing a landscaping shrub, we like to keep the four seasons in mind.

Often, gardeners will choose a landscaping shrub for its flowers, forgetting that most shrubs only are in bloom for three to four weeks.

So, when developing your landscape idea, be sure to consider the impact of the landscaping shrub’s other attributes make during the forty-eight-plus weeks left in the year.

Now, if the vision of your unique garden style contains the lilac bushes of your childhood, it’s important that your garden plan includes those lovely lavender-scented shrubs. Just be sure that you take into account the large fluttering leaves on the landscaping shrub during the rest of the summer, and its bare straight twigs during the winter.

Try to add bushes that work hard all four seasons to bring interest to your garden canvas.

Some shrubs not only have flowers, but also colorful fruits and foliage. They may also have colorful stems, bicolor or peeling bark, or prominent buds to liven up a winter garden. Ilex and Viburnums are a couple of our favorites; both of these shrubs have varieties that grow well in the North or the South.

We like to choose trees for our clients in the winter. It’s easy for a tree to star in the spring, when it’s flowering, or fall, when the leaves turn brilliant colors. It’s also easy to like a tree in the summer when you need shade.

But winter is a real test of a tree’s character. Then you can see the color and texture of its bark and the pattern of its branches. Since trees are a major backbone of the garden, it’s best that they look good all year long.


Home Garden Tip: The contrast of a clipped hedge with a natural-shaped landscaping shrub can add drama. A potential landscape idea is to use a low well-clipped yew (Taxus, for instance) hedge which can form a pedestal for a mix of unclipped conifers and deciduous trees that rise and spread above it.


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