When to plant shrubs?
Shrubs are instrumental in every garden. Often called bushes, shrubs give us flowers, provide shade, design, and privacy, and a safe habitat for nature. The environmental benefits of planting shrubs in your garden are that they improve air quality and reduce dust and pollutants. Many shrubs are evergreen and add a design element to your garden throughout the seasons. Planting shrubs around your home adds softness to the hard lines and is a landscaping technique often used on newly built housing, where the gardens are yet to mature. With so many uses, what’s not to love about shrubs!
Everything about Shrubs
Thought of as the most valuable plants in the garden, the right shrubs make or break a garden design. In this blog post, we will tell you when to plant your shrubs, how to prune your shrubs, how to look after them, and also give you information on the best shrubs for your landscape. From roots to flowers everything about shrubs will be covered. So sit back and enjoy learning new information about shrubs.
What are the types of shrubs?
There are so many species of shrubs. Described as a woody-stemmed, small to medium-sized plant, shrubs are the most valuable and common plant growing in our gardens. It’s easy to identify a shrub when it is in flower or bearing fruit, but in the winter seasons, the leaves are your only way. Each shrub leaf has its own distinct shape, differing from trees because they have many more stems and are shorter. Shrubs can be evergreen, meaning that they stay green and keep their leaves throughout the year. Or deciduous, which means that they shed the part of the shrub they no longer need to survive for the season, leaves and flowers.
Some of the most popular shrub varieties used in garden and landscape design in Qatar are oleander, ehretia, carissa, bougainvillea, ixora, jasmine, and tecoma. The beauty of shrubs is that they start off small and can become very big. But with careful pruning, you can make them the size you need. You can also prune your shrub to any shape or style you want.
Even though Qatar’s summers can reach extreme temperatures, there is plenty of natural flora and fauna that grow throughout the country. From shrubs, laurels, and beautiful fruiting bushes. Some of the most beautiful shrubs can be found in the depths of the sandy desert. Limonium axillare, also known as Sea Lavender because of its delicate blue coloured leaves, can be found in many gardens, road landscape designs, and freely self-seeding in the desert. Another popular shrub is Caesalpinia Gilliesii, commonly referred to as Bird of Paradise due to its beautiful exotic-looking yellow and red flowers. This plant can be added to any garden and is easy to look after. Only requires pruning each spring to remove any old or dead branches. It can grow to between 10-15 feet tall and because it loves the direct sunlight it will provide some much-needed shade. Once established in your garden it is very drought tolerant. Making it a perfect shrub for the Qatar landscape.
Verbenaceae have many different species in the family. Some trees, some shrubs, and some are herbs. The Verbenaceae that is most commonly seen in Qatar is Lantana. The lantana shrub is a delicate shrub that has sweet multicoloured flowers. Native to Africa and the Americas. Lantana is a beautiful shrub that can add a delicate touch of colour to your garden and landscape design.
When to prune shrubs?
All too often plant care and maintenance are overlooked. However, keeping up to date with pruning and trimming your shrubs is very important. When pruning a shrub are removing loose, dead, or infected stems from the plant. Cutting the plant back to make way for new growth and flowers.
It is important to take care of your shrub throughout all of the seasons, from winter, spring, summer, and autumn. The benefits of pruning are huge. Removing the dead and infected stems helps to prevent pests that could infect your shrubs, preventing infection and decay to the rest of the plant. Some shrub stems become damaged by animals, sometimes they break, or can become damaged due to the weather. Pruning is the best way to correct the damage and ensure that the bush has the greatest chance of growth, health, and survival for the next season.
Once you understand how beneficial pruning is to your shrubs, and how the plant responds to being pruned, you will begin to realise how most problems that arise on a shrub can be solved by a good prune. Regular pruning prevents your shrubs from looking ‘leggy’. One of the biggest benefits of pruning a flowering plant is that it will encourage new growth and flowers for the next season. “Pruning distributes the plant’s stored energy among fewer flower buds so that the ones left behind get more to eat,” explains horticulturist Lee Reich.
The first step to a successful prune is to know when the right time is to do it. As a general rule, you should prune a flowering shrub after it has finished flowering and deciduous plants should be pruned in the winter or early spring. The flowers will have taken several months to form on what were new branches when they started to grow. But now that the cycle has finished and the shrub has bloomed, these branches are old. So to encourage the cycle to continue you need to remove the branches. This gives the shrub the rest of the season to develop new healthy branches and buds that will bloom later on in the season.
How to prune shrubs and bushes?
For both pruning and trimming you will need the following basic tools; Secateurs and hedge shears. If you have large trees and shrubs that you need to prune then you may also need a pruning saw, loppers, and/or a pole saw. In general pruning tools must be sharp and clean.
Whether you’re just trying to control the growth of your hedge so that it doesn’t become too tall, or you want to increase the number of flowers that grow for the next season. Pruning is the way to make sure you get what you need from your shrub.
When it comes to pruning there seem to be two types of people. Those who are cautious and do not remove a lot of the shrub and those who are gallant in their effort to maintain the exact shape they require.
When you prune you are doing one of two things, cutting to thin the plant or cutting to take the deadheads and branches away. Heading cuts require you to remove the unruly branches. Heading cuts are made just outside a branching node with a bud. The node of the plant is simply the place where the leaves and flowers are growing from the main branch. Heading cuts stimulate new growth, new branches and are commonly used to shape hedges such as ehretia.
Thinning cuts are used to promote ample air circulation throughout the bush. It is essential to make sure your shrubs do not grow too dense, to ensure the shrub stays healthy. Thinning cuts are made where the unwanted branch meets the shrubs main stems, or the base of the shrub to remove the entire branch.
To encourage rapid healing of the wounds after you prune you need to make sure that the cuts you make are clean and smooth. This is where it is very important that the tools you start with are disinfected and sharp. Avoid tearing the branches of your shrubs because this is where infection can occur.
When you are ready to begin pruning simply cut your shrubs branch at an angle. The angle should be roughly 45 degrees and the cut should be sharp and clean. If you are pruning to thin out your shrubs then this will be done at the base of the bush. If you are pruning to improve and promote flowering for the next season this will be done just above the node on the branch. This will then encourage the shrub to produce more flowers.
Try where possible to plan your cuts. The ideal pruning technique would be to make as few cuts as possible on the shrub to ensure it can fully recover and thrive. As mentioned before, the benefits of pruning your shrubs are so important to maintaining the health of your plant, and also to ensure that you have beautiful flowering shrubs for years to come. For more ideas on where to plant your shrubs take a look at our Landscaping Design for Beginners blog post.