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The following guides have been provided by Sunshine Nursery & Arboretum:

Tree Planting | Tree Care | Tree Pruning | Shrub Planting | Shrub Care | Shrub Pruning

Caring for your Shrub

Your shrub will demand the most water during its first summer. When it is first planted, its roots can only reach the water that is in its original root ball. The plant is completely dependent on you to provide water until the roots grow out into the surrounding soil far enough to support their water needs. Initially, care for them as though they are still in a pot. The potting mix that your shrub is planted in is lighter weight than the surrounding soil and will dry out faster. In fact, if the potting mix gets really dry, it will start to repel water making it very difficult to water your shrub. Water regularly to prevent this from happening. Making a dam around your shrub will also help to direct water into the root ball. A newly planted shrub should be watered every day in the summer. Mulch the area around your shrubs to help cool the soil and keep it moist.

If you discover one of your shrubs limp and wilted, water it immediately. Provide some shade for it if you can and maybe set a sprinkler going on it to cool the area. Your plant should perk back up within the hour. If not, you need to investigate further. Dig down and make sure that the original root ball is wet. Once your shrub has recovered, it is important water it again to replenish the water that the plant has taken up into its leaves and to leave it a reserve for tomorrow. If you find that a particular shrub is wilting frequently, make sure the area is well mulched with several inches of mulch. See if you can provide more shade for it. You may also need to trim some branches away or shorten them in order to reduce the foliage area so that the plant has less water demands.

We get many calls about newly planted trees or shrubs having yellow leaves, spots, brown edges, or sudden death. That is why we stress so much about watering a plant when it is new. Pay attention to clues to help guide your care. If your plant does not look right to you, check at the original root ball for moisture. In extreme cases, we have asked people to dig the newly planted shrub out of the ground to show that the water was not penetrating all of the root area. When problems occur in the first few days or weeks, 99% of the time it is due to poor timing of or insufficient amounts of water.

If you want to bring a problem you are having to the nursery, it is very helpful to bring as many answers as you can to the following types of questions. Where is the damage occurring: on the inside of the shrub, ends of the branches, top, bottom, one side, etc? When did you first notice damage, how fast has it progressed? Look at the plant stems, at the soil level and on up. Do you notice anything out of order there? Look at the veins of the leaves, how does their color compare to the rest of the leaf. Look at the underside of the leaves for any clues. Compare the new foliage at the tips of the branches to the older foliage further back. When you come, bring a sample. Bring it fresh and keep it cool. This will help us work with you to determine what may be going wrong.

Tree Pruning: A Worldwide Photo Guide. Shigo, Alex L. c. 1989. Shigo and Trees Assoc. Durham.

Copyright 2001 Sunshine Nursery & Arboretum
Clinton, OK