How not to plant shrubs

One of the garden projects I have been working on lately reminded me how not to plant shrubs. These shrubs were not planted deep enough so the root balls heaved out of the soil this past winter.  As a result, the row of shrubs were all dead, and very unsightly. When I dug them up (didn’t even require a shovel, they came out quite easily) the root balls were still in the shape of the pots.  So were the holes.

 

 

 

The correct way to plant a shrub (and most perennials and trees too) is to:

  • dig a hole twice as wide as the pot the shrub came in and the same depth
  • remove the shrub from the pot and loosen the root ball
  • if the shrub is very root bound, use a sharp knife or trowel to scarify (gently scrape/loosen) the roots
  • add water to the hole before and after planting the shrub
  • water daily until shrub is established, (one week) preferably in the morning
  • ensure plant crown is neither too deep or too far above ground.  Roses do prefer their crown just below soil level

 

 

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Weigela shrubs, three shapes

Shrubs are valuable in a large garden bed, especially because they offer a variation in shapes which adds visual drama to your garden.  Recently I have been experimenting with shrubs that can be trained to grow in different forms or shapes.

The most common form of a weigela is the rounded, shrub form…

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This weigela was purchased as a standard, which some call a “ball on a stick.”  This shape variation makes a great accent in a small garden or in a tight corner of a larger garden as it is here …

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This weigela was purchased and planted in a shrub form.  Upon maturity, it was an overgrown, unpruned shrub that was crowded into a corner of an entrance to a backyard.  I removed most of the lower branches, so it now looks more like a tree and suits the location much better…

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These are great examples of a weigela shrub grown in three different forms to add variation in the plant shapes in your gardens.  I love the tree-like shapes because you can add some low growing at the base for additional color and texture.

Hopefully, I have inspired you to experiment with your own shrubs.