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Maintaining Shrubs and Trees

Shrubs

For shrubs that flower after June 15 they should only be hedged after October 15. Often if you do not hedge these plants they will become long and weak and then fall flat or “donut”. In the fall, ensure that all tree and shrub leaves are picked up, as often they can harbor fungus or insect pests. The best way is to use a blower. Blow them on to the grass and then pick them up with the mower. Or bag them and dispose. 

Pines create long “Candles” after Victoria Day. Cutting the candles in half will create a denser specimen, and help maintain size and shape. 

Shrubs are characterized by having very woody stems, usually multi-stemmed, and are generally between one foot to eight feet high. They are different from perennials in that they do not grow from the ground every spring. 

Shrubs actually need very little care, however they will benefit from fertilizer on May 15 and June 15 (please refer to the maintenance sheet). They do benefit from regular hedging to keep them looking full and rounded. Hedging is the trimming off of about 2 inches to 6 inches of growth. Shrubs that flower between May 15 and June 15 need to be hedged within two weeks of finishing flowering so that they can set flower buds for next spring. 

Trees

Trees need to be watered on May 1 and fertilized on May 15 and June 15 with a tree fertilizer (e.g. evergreen tree fertilizer or tree fertilizer stakes). 

All trees either grow up or out. In the first 3 years the objective is to get the tree to fill out. In the spring, on April 15, trim the top 4” off the top branches using a long handled pruner or pole pruner. After 3 years let the plant continue to grow tall. 

Never cut the top off of an evergreen, Swedish Aspen Poplar, or Linden Tree, as this will distort the shape of the plant and create double leaders. Trim all maples and birch only after June 1. These trees tend to bleed heavily. Elms by law can only be pruned between Nov 1 and March 31.