By Cheryl Huckabee
Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about updates to your landscape with new shrubs. When choosing shrubs, consider the purpose or function, the aesthetic considerations, and the site conditions.
Determine what the shrub should “do” in the landscape:
- Fence or boundary
- Focal point in the landscape
- Foundation planting
- Screen for privacy or wind
- Define outdoor spaces
- Define a walkway
- Minimize drainage issues or erosion
The desired appearance of the shrub selection:
- The growth habit – pyramidal, columnar, spreading
- The shrub’s blooms – when and color
- The foliage appearance – color, texture, shape, and seasonal color
- Interesting winter appearance – bark, twig/branch structure, fruit, berries
- Benefits to wildlife – food or shelter
The planting site conditions:
- The sun exposure – full sun (6 – 8 hours), part sun (afternoon sun), part shade (morning sun), deep shade (dappled or very little sun)
- The moisture conditions – perpetually moist or mostly dry
- Exposure to wind and temperature extremes
- The soil type – clay, sandy loam, sand
- The hardiness zone – North Texas is in Zones 8a and 8b
- Other plants nearby that will compete for water and nutrients
- Below-ground obstructions – pipes, electrical lines, tree roots
- Overhead obstructions – electrical or telephone lines
The next step is an analysis of the soil from the planting site to get recommendations for improving soil fertility. Use this website link to learn more: agrilifeextension.tamu.edu.
These links have information for choosing the right shrub for the purpose, desired appearance, and planting site: txmg.org/denton/files/2021/04/Selecting-shrubs-to-fit-your-landscape.pdf and texassuperstar.com/plants
Purchase shrubs from a reputable nursery or garden center and check the plant’s overall appearance for health.
Considering all these factors will help you make a wise investment and add lasting beauty to your landscape.