Spring offers the greatest variety of flowering shrubs…an excellent way to decorate your yard and build curb appeal!  As a former Landscaper, I would end up with extra shrubs that eventually created my little landscape retreat.  So, to say the least, I’ve got a lot of shrubs in my yard and I will need to make this a 2 weekend project with the help of my minions (bruhahaha, rubbing hands together like a sinister scientist).  I’m sure there will be a price to pay for their help but it will be worth it!

Don’t have any flowering shrubs?  Be on the look out for tips on how to design a simple flowering bed to add a splash of color…and make sure to schedule this as a Saturday morning To-Do in the next several weeks – beat the heat!

If you’re already blessed with shrubs (flowering or non-flowering a-like), then it’s time to feed them!!!

 Fertilizing your flowering shrubs will strengthen them and they will continue to produce more beautiful blooms (which, in turn, feeds those bees!!!).  Fertilizing shrubs isn’t the most fun outdoor project…there’s not a visual difference when you are done, so I suggest combining this “task” with a fresh layer of mulch to give you some satisfaction for your efforts!  

So, let’s get started…you’ll want to grab the following materials:

  • Gloves20170406_094549
  • A hard rake…”What?!?” you say…no worries, it’ll be great for your waistline!
  • Something to kneel on (optional)
  • Wheelbarrow(s) to haul everything around (think efficiencies!!)
  • Bag(s) of fertilizer – I use a standard plant food and one for those acid loving plants like azaleas and rhododendron)
  • A measuring scoop 
  • Bagged or Bulk Mulch – Learn more about the different choices in mulch

Then follow the below quick list to check this task off!!!SONY DSC

  1. Rake back mulch from around the shrubs, pulling it back just past the drip line.  The drip line is the virtual line straight down from the furthest reaching branches on your shrubs.  For larger shrubs or trees, I use tree & shrub fertilizer spikes so you get to skip step 1 and go on to step 2!!!
  2. Measure out the manufacturer’s recommended amount and spread evenly underneath the shrubs…from trunk outwards to the drip line.  For larger shrubs or trees, I use the Miracle Gro Tree & Shrub Fertilizer spikes 20170316_171441 and follow their recommendations for the number of spikes per tree/shrub…just push back the mulch to get to the earth then pound the spike into the ground – tip:  be careful not to break the spike in tough soil – you may need to loosen up the soil if yours is like the concrete we have in the Southeast).
  3. If the old mulch in the bed was a thin layer (<2”) then rake it back into place, spreading evenly over the entire area.  (You’ll notice there is less than what you just raked back…this is a phenomenon I’ve yet to figure out!!!)SONY DSC
  4. Top off the bed with a fresh layer of mulch, not to exceed 4” ideally.  My preference for mulch is a double ground hardwood mulch…it’s normally a nice chocolate brown color and looks very natural with most shrubs and trees.  And keep your mulch several inches away from the foundation of your house…helps to deter insect infestation (termites).  Here are my thoughts on  Mulch vs. Pine Straw.  
  5. Time to water your shrubs to activate the fertilizer!!!  Give the ground around the mulch a good watering to saturate the new mulch and start dissolving the fertilizer. 

Now step back and enjoy the fresh look your beds have, and reflect on how happy you have made the shrubs and the bees…Good job!!!  

Please submit a picture of your soon to be smiling flowering shrubs & I’ll get them posted in my gallery.

Also, keep an eye on your flowering shrubs, once the last petal falls, then you’ll want to check back in for tips on how to Prune your Flowering Shrubs. (coming soon)

Thank you!  Cherie

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