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How do I Best Care for my Shade Shrubs?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Image By: Doug Beckers
  • Last Modified Date: 10 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Shade shrubs are a nice addition to many types of home landscapes. Shade shrubs make a nice foundation planting around the edge of the home, or to fill in an area where other types of plants do not thrive. These shrubs are generally hardy but do require some special care.

Shrubs that grow in shade often need supplemental watering. Whatever blocks the sun often blocks the rain as well. One example of this is shade shrubs that are planted alongside a house. Shrubs used as foundation plants often sit so close to the house that the overhand of the roof prevents rain from reaching the shrubs. In cases like this, you will need to water the shrubs, even in the winter.

Another problem some shade shrubs encounter is fungal and bug infestations. The same dark, moist environment that allows a shade shrub to thrive also provides the perfect host for fungus and bugs to flourish. The best way to prevent shrubs from developing problems from bugs and fungi is to check them frequently. At the first sign of problems, identify and treat the shrub.

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If you are not familiar with different types of insects and fungi that attack shrubs, capture a bug or remove some of the damaged portion of the plant and take it to your local Extension Office. Each state has Extension officers who are typically affiliated with state run universities. These Extension officers provide a wide range of free and low cost service, one of which is helping identify and treat common gardening pests. Most Extension officers will be able to tell at a glance exactly what affliction a plant has by looking at the damage.

Caring for your shade shrubs is easiest if you start with healthy shrubs. Shade shrubs are generally low maintenance, and, if you can prevent problems from developing, they require little additional care. Aside from watering and being on the lookout for pests, there are several things that you can do to keep your shade shrubs in good shape.

Mulching the soil around your shrubs allows moisture to remain down around the roots where it belongs. It also prevents water from splashing onto the needles or leaves of your shrub when you are watering. This will reduce the risk of your shrubs developing a fungus.

Prune and fertilize your shrubs as directed by your local Extension office. Some shrubs should be pruned in the winter, while others do better when pruned in early spring or the fall. Some appreciate a light application of organic fertilizer in the fall, while others require a heavy dose in the spring. Dedicating yourself to the regular maintenance of your shade shrubs is the best way to keep them healthy and problem-free.

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