Spring Shrub Choices
April 26, 2023 | View PDF
Spring has sprung! After what felt like an unusually long winter people are excited to enjoy the outdoors again. In this article, I'll focus on some shrub choices for early-season interest.
Among my favorite spring shrub choices is that of Forsythia. These stunning "light barked" shrubs can make a great specimen for a hedge or visual privacy. Achieving a height of between six and ten feet with rich green foliage all summer perhaps the most interesting thing about Forsythia is that they flower before they leaf out! Bright yellow buds followed by yellow petals adorn this shrub sometimes as early as Mid-April. The blooms give way as I mentioned to lush green foliage. The Forsythia responds well to pruning and can be shaped into a formal hedge if desired.
Another of my favorites are some varieties of Viburnum. There are many varieties of these tremendously hardy shrubs. The various choices mean as you might imagine various habits of growth also. Most bloom white in color and are clustered flowers. I think of the Snowball Viburnum which achieves a height like that of the Common Lilac. There are those of a more compact habit also with heights closer to five or six feet. Often confused with Hydrangea, nearly all viburnum bloom in the spring. Many hydrangeas they are confused with are fall bloomers.
If you want to add something blooming with an opportunity for something edible, the Serviceberry, or Juneberry is a great choice. Gray-green oblong foliage usually arrives in late April or early May. These leaves are followed by dainty white flowers that mature as blue-colored fruits great for pies or baking. With an average height of four to six feet, these shrubs can also make a great hedge or visual barrier. If your desire is to harvest this fruit you will want to make provisions to keep birds and other wildlife away from this shrub.
An increasing number of cultivar choices await you from the Dogwood or Cornus genus. These shrubs have attractive young bark (often red) with various leaf colors. It used to be just green and variegated foliage choices were available but the introduction of the Neon Burst has opened up yellow or chartreuse as a possibility. The common Red Twigged Dogwood often produces showy flowers in spring, then occasionally throughout the summer. Most of the other hybrid cultivars are much smaller plants, topping out at around six feet.
Last and perhaps most desirable in spring are lilac shrubs. Many love the smell of lilac and can confidently say that spring has arrived when lilac flowers are in bloom. What you may not know is that in addition to the common lilac, which usually blooms around Mother's Day, there are other lilac varieties that bloom even later. The Donald Wyman hybrid lilac responds well to pruning and usually blooms closer to Father's Day. Extending your lilac show into early summer!
We hope you find time to get outdoors and observe the world around you. If you are looking to do any improvements to your landscape or have questions or concerns regarding something going on, we're here to help! Until then, good luck, and happy growing!