Questons and Answers

5 comments:

  1. I need to replace a bush on the south side of my home. There are two spirea and one weigela and would like something different. Any suggestions?

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    1. Since you said the shrub will be on the south side of your house, I’ll assume it is a full-sun location. If you’re looking for a shrub that reaches a size in the 3’-5’ range, I’d recommend a dwarf lilac (Syringa spp.), Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica), or Knock Out Rose (Rosa x ‘Radrazz’). If you want something that gets a larger, try a Limelight Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – a hydrangea that does well in full sun), Brilliant Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’), or Isanti Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Isanti’). These are all tough, low-maintenance shrubs that should do well in that location and offer different flower color and seasonal interest than your spirea and weigela. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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  2. Hi, Tom - Regarding your article on mulch: You recommend the shredded hardwood mulch in most residential applications for planting beds and I wonder if the same advice applies to the areas around trees, where there are no other plants. If I just want to create a visually pleasing area under a tree, where grass will not grow well, are the nutrients and temperature issues still very important? For example, I'm thinking of using pebbles under a weeping willow tree, with a circular border. Thanks!

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    1. Yes, I especially recommend using hardwood mulch around the base of trees. If you think about trees in a natural wooded habitat, they create their own "mulch" in the form of leaf debris when they lose their leaves every fall. The leaves decay and replenish nutrients, retain moisture, and insulate the root zone from temperature extremes. However, this leaf layer is raked up and removed every fall in most residential applications, which is why providing mulch is so important.
      In your case, the mulch will still cover the area where grass won't grow around the base of your tree, but will also provide more benefits for the tree's health than stone. Visually, the mulch will still create contrast against the surrounding lawn without being over-powering so attention is focused on the real "show" - the tree.

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