Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 4, Issue 2
April 2009
Shrub Planting Guidelines
Highbush cranberry shrub
A highbush cranberry shrub (Viburnum opulus var. americanum).
  As a certified arborist and urban forester for over 37 years, I have evaluated the health of woody shrubs growing in typical urban landscapes many times over. It is very unusual for me to encounter a yard, even a professionally designed and planted one, that has well-placed shrubs that are not encroached upon by other garden features such as buildings, fences, overhead wires, pools, patios, decks, planters, sidewalks, driveways or other shrubs and trees.

The poor placement and poor establishment of shrubs (as well as trees) in the home landscape are two of the most common reasons why yard work can become a major chore. Most of us have listened to homeowners (including ourselves) who complain about having to prune out or remove crowded shrubs or trees. In particular, far too many shrubs struggle to survive because we fail to recognize that by the time these young plants reach maturity, they will have grown in both height and width. Many gardeners plant close together because they don't like to see large gaps in the yard in the early years of landscaping. It seems that few people ever make the perceptual connection between the potential growth of woody plants and their placement.

When planning your yard, you can ease your workload and ensure your shrubs' wellbeing by giving proper consideration to their placement in relation to other components of your garden. Below are some step-by-step planting guidelines, which can also be followed when planting a small tree.
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