This article is by Jaclyn Crawford and published by Improvenet


Shrubs are an extremely popular landscaping feature in many yards. They are great for both the front and backyard to add additional privacy, style and curb appeal. However, like any other plant, shrubs need care to maintain their appeal.

These plants are unique to your landscaping because they will need different care. If you’re wondering how to keep your shrubs healthy this season, we have the answer. Here are a few shrub maintenance tips.

Landscaping Shrub Care

Most shrubs are able to live a long time with proper care and thankfully, they don’t take as much maintenance as other plants in your yard. “Knowing what type of shrub you have will determine how to trim them,” Mike Jennings, owner of Mike Jennings Landscaping, said. “Most deciduous shrubs can be trimmed anytime, but it’s best to trim during the fall and winter season. Use loppers or hand pruners to remove dead stems, wayward or crossing branches.”

Many homeowners gravitate to low-maintenance shrubs like arborvitae and boxwood plants, as some only need annual maintenance. Flowering shrubs are also popular choices right now because of their beauty and scent. Hydrangeas and lavender make for perfect additions to any yard.

To keep your shrubs looking great, here are some tips to care for them:

  • Plant or replant at the right time for maximum growth.
  • Prune your shrubs at the right time of year so they can regrow.
  • Pruning will keep disease away from your shrub, so it’s important to do it regularly.
  • Mulch before winter weather hits to keep it from cold weather damage.
  • Invest in a quality pair of pruning shears, it will make all the difference.

Best Time To Plant Shrubs

When it comes to shrub maintenance, the key is doing the right care at the right time. So, you may be wondering, when is the best time to plant shrubs? Whether you’re planting new shrubs or transplanting older shrubs to a different area, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing so at the right time of year. For the most part, the best time to plant shrubs is in the fall, giving the shrub plenty of time to grow before laying dormant for the winter season. However, always check with the specific shrub you’re looking to plant, as it can vary slightly depending on type.

Adding new shrubs to your yard is a project you can do yourself. If you’re planting a new shrub, be sure it can thrive in your climate and area. Some shrubs need more sunlight than others.

How To Prune Shrubs

The biggest maintenance project when it comes to shrub maintenance is pruning. This is the process of cutting back overgrown and dead branches on your plant, so it can continue growing. You may also want to prune a shrub because it’s causing a hazard for your home, such as interference with an electrical wire or HVAC equipment.

Always prune at a 45-degree angle to allow for new branches to grow back healthily. To successfully prune a shrub, you want to be consistent in your cuts. Thin your shrub first, by removing a few branches on the outer part of your shrub, cutting after the bud. Then, you’ll want to remove any larger branches that are lower or intruding on features of your home. Finally, clear any branches that are dead or dying.

When To Prune Shrubs

The best time to prune depends on the type of shrub you have. And to successfully maintain your shrubs, timing is everything. For flowering shrubs, such as a rose bush, you’ll want to prune them right after they bloom. For other shrubs that don’t bloom, you’ll want to prune them in late winter while they are still dormant. That way, when the spring rains arrive, they can start to grow again.

Cold Weather Shrub Care

One of the best parts about owning shrubs is the way they last through the winter. If you’ve taken care of them, they’ll make your yard look beautiful all year long! Of course, like other plants in your yard, you’ll want to protect them from harsh winter weather. Laying down mulch before the cold season starts can help to keep the roots warmer. Some homeowners who live in climates of extreme cold choose to protect their shrubs, especially those that flower, with burlap covers. However, for hardier evergreens, this may not be necessary. You’ll also want to keep watering your shrubs through the fall until the first frost.

Gardening Tools For Shrub

If you plan on maintaining your shrubs without the help of a pro, you’ll need the right equipment to do so. “You’ll need a good pair of loppers, hand pruners, hand trimmers and electric or gas trimmers to trim shrubs,” Jennings said.

Investing in a pair of quality pruning shears is key to getting the right cut. It should easily be able to snip an unwanted branch without too much force. Loppers can also help with bigger shrubs and hedges that have thicker branches. You’ll also want to get a pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands from cuts and scrapes. Always take caution when using these sharp tools to DIY your shrub maintenance.

Shrub Maintenance Costs

If you’re considering hiring a pro or DIYing your shrub maintenance, you should know there will be some costs associated with this. It’s a good idea to build this into your landscaping budget for the year. The average cost to trim or remove trees and shrubs cost $638, with most homeowners spending between $422 and $707. While you may save money by doing this project yourself, a landscaping pro will know exactly what to do to keep your shrubs healthy and looking great, saving you the time and effort.


Shrubs are a great item to have in your yard that is great in every season. However, to keep them looking their best, you must maintain them regularly. Include a few of these tips in your regular exterior maintenance plan to make it easy to keep up with.

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