Trees and shrubs are any important part of your landscaping. Not only do they need to be healthy, they also need to look nice.
Trimming and Training
When it comes to landscape trees and shrubs, regular trimming is the key to both good health and an attractive look. Shrubs and trees that have branches almost to their base, like some conifers, usually only require trimming to maintain their basic shape. This means doing little more than snipping off overgrown branch tips once or twice a year.
Trunked trees and shrubs may require more in-depth trimming. Suckers and weak growth needs to be pruned off the lower part of the trunk and from around the base of the tree. The crown may also require some shaping to maintain a balanced rounded form, plus dead branches must be trimmed out. This typically must be done annually in spring.
Trimming the tree or shrub is only one part of integrating it into your landscape design. The ground around the tree must also be tended. There are two main design options here — living or non-living mulch. Living mulch includes ground cover plants. It's best to opt for one that doesn't need to be mowed, since mowing close to a tree can be difficult due to roots and uneven soil. The plant must also have minimal water and nutrient needs so it doesn't out compete the tree. Creeping thyme and hostas are good examples of tree-safe ground covers.
The other option is mulch, such as bark nuggets for any tree or pine straw for acid-loving trees and shrubs like conifers. It's a good idea to install an edging ring around the trunk, several feet out, to help keep the mulch contained around the tree. You can even plant some annual flowers in the mulched area to add to the landscaping.
Expanding the Design
You can tie in the design to other parts of your landscaping to create a more cohesive look. If you opt for ground cover plants, for example, repeat these plants as a foundation planting around all the trees in your yard. If you go with annual flowers, use some of the same flowers in border beds or in the entrance way flower pots.
For mulched trees, don't change up the type of mulch you use in other beds as this will look messy and haphazard. If you go with bark nuggets, then use the same type and color of bark nuggets in every mulched bed in the landscape. Consistency is key to an eye pleasing landscape.
Contact a landscaping service if you want more help with creating a healthy design for your small trees and shrubs.