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How to Plant and Care for Shrubs?

Follow the general planting directions in Easy Steps to Planting Nursery Stock.

Give shrubs room to grow by setting them rather far apart unless you want to form a dense, upright hedge. It's better to allow too much room than too little since cramped quarters will cause shrubs to lose their natural shape. Set shrubs far enough from the house so that they won't touch the walls when mature. This avoids a cluttered look in the landscape and more importantly, protects the health of the plants. It permits air to circulate freely, lessening the chance of disease. Never plant directly under the drip line of a roof where shrubs could be damaged by falling icicles or snow. Avoid planting under overhangs where the plants won't get sufficient moisture. Don't place a shrub in an exposed site if it's a variety that needs shelter from winter winds. Most shrubs need very little pruning--just enough to maintain the basic shape of the bush and to keep dead wood trimmed out. Shrubs should not be pruned straight across the top because this spoils their natural habit of growth. Lightly prune early blooming shrubs immediately after they finish flowering. Midseason and late bloomers can be pruned in late fall after flowering or in early spring.

HYDRANGEA--These plants thrive in rich, moist soil and flower freely in sun or shade. Flower color is determined by soil acidity. Where soils are acid, blooms are blue. Where soils are alkaline, blooms are pink. For pink flowers, sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup lime around the plants at planting time. For blue flowers, add 1/2 to 1 cup aluminum sulphate. Prune stems which have just borne flowers and leave those that won't flower until next year. Older, darker canes can be removed almost at the ground. Go easy on young, vigorous green shoots; they shouldn't be drastically pruned.

LILAC--Lilacs prefer cool temperatures and early planting--as soon as the soil can be worked--in a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Never prune lilacs severely--just trim off the old blooms immediately after flowering. It's easy to see where you should make the cut; you'[ll notice next year's buds developing just below this season's flower clusters. As soon as the blooms are spent remove them to make way for next year's crop of blossoms.

For Shrub Planting Chart, click here.

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