It's just starting to feel like spring here in Michigan's Great Southwest. Mother Nature has been a tease, granting us sunny warm weekends, followed by cold, cloudy, even snowy weekdays. Yesterday morning I took a quick walk around my garden, determined to find proof that spring was really here!
I had to look pretty close, and bend pretty low to get these photos, but i present to you.....PROOF!
Many of the early blooming shrubs are showing off their spring finery: forsythia, flowering almond, azaleas and magnolia are a few that come to mind. The fresh bright green of newly emerging leaves on the trees and shrubs in the landscape provide a brilliant backdrop for early perennials and annuals. Accent shrubs such as pussy willow and Japanese Maples really shine right now as well.
As tempting as it may be, though, to grab those hedge pruners and tidy up that messy forsythia or lilac, wait! Spring shrubs bloom on last summer's growth. Wait patiently for the shrub in question to finish blooming, then trim and shape to your heart's content. Once finished, resist any further trimming until the following year. If necessary, use hand pruners to clip a few offending branches any time of the year. Remember though, any pruning in late summer, fall, winter or early spring will reduce the numbers of bloom come springtime!
For many spring shrubs, simply deadheading (removing the old flowers after they've finished) is all the maintenance required. Lilacs, rhododendrons and azaleas all fall into this category. Remember to check the plant tags for growth rate and expected size, and plant them accordingly. You'll never need to trim them to keep them in their place.
Other types of shrubs, such as forsythia, flowering quince and magnolias, will self clean. These shrubs require little to no trimming, just a little cosmetic pruning to keep an eye pleasing shape to them during the summer months. Again, check the plant tags to be sure that you're picking up a variety that will fit the space you intend to plant the shrub.
Still not sure you want to tackle it yourself? We can help! Our maintenance crew has years of experience, and regularly attend classes on proper pruning techniques. Contact us today.
Some additional spring blooming shrubs for your viewing pleasure (click on any photo to enlarge it):
Anna and her husband Todd own Arcadia Gardens, LLC a Stevensville, MI based landscape design and build company. Her degree in Horticulture with a focus on landscape management from Michigan State University allows Anna to select plants specific to on-site conditions and with maintenance requirements that suit the client's needs. She is comfortable designing across a range of styles- from contemporary to classic- and makes a point to include the client's input throughout the design process. She is an active member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and is serving as 2014 President of the APLD-Michigan Chapter. Anna has recently contributed to media such as "The Designer" and Gardendesign.com and is qualified to speak on a variety of topics from landscape design and maintenance to addressing local garden clubs and organizations.
PO Box 88
Stevensville, MI 49127