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):
As Spring slowly but surely peeks out from it's winter blanket, many of you will find yourselves spending more and more time in your gardens. How refreshing it is to see those bits of life emerging from the cold damp earth! If you planted spring bulbs last fall, or in past years, you are already being rewarded with bright splashes of color. This is a great time to take stock of the bare spots in the spring landscape and plan for planting bulbs this fall.
In your travels around town, take note of eye catching spring gardens. Perhaps a neighbor has a unique bloom that would look great in your landscape. As bulbs emerge and bloom, think about color combinations, successive blooms and accents that you'd like to see in your garden. Bulbs also make great fillers for those bare spots that will soon be filled by summer perennials.
The toughest part about planning for spring blooms is remembering what you wanted to plant come fall, and just where exactly you already have bulbs planted! There are various ways to overcome this: keep a garden journal, map out your garden beds, or place garden markers in your beds to identify what you've planted and what you want to plant. Another great way to keep track of your spring beds is to simply photograph them at different phases and mark with a permanent marker on the photo itself. Keep your photos organized in an album and refer back to them in the fall, when it comes time to buy and plant bulbs.
As always, we here at Arcadia Gardens, LLC, are more than happy to help you with the project. Just give us a call or drop us an email!
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