How to Plant Shrubs

Shrubs structure and fill out your garden, adding density and dimensionality where it's most needed. They're simpler to install than you may know. Here, we walk you through it.

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Mulch Options

Mulches conserve water, which is why they are always applied after planting when the ground is moist. Some improve soil structure and most discourage weeds, which compete with plants for water and nutrients. Gravel mulches look attractive while others, such as leafmold, offer a habitat for beneficial creatures such as ground beetles. Here are four kinds of mulches for you to consider using:

Mature compost and manure lock moisture and nutrients into the soil. As the mulch breaks down it releases plant food and improves the soil structure. Apply a layer 4 inch deep in late winter to minimize weed growth.

Although low in nutrients, leaves are excellent for improving soil and retaining moisture, and look good around woodland-style plantings. To make leafmold mulch, fill perforated trash bags with fall leaves, seal up and leave for about 18 months.

A popular mulch, bark comes in various sizes, the smallest being the most ornamental. It breaks down slowly and is a good weed suppressor and moisture conserver, but doesn’t add many nutrients. An area mulched with bark sill need to have its worn areas replenished annually.

Gravel laid over landscape fabric creates a decorative weed-suppressant foil for alpines and Mediterranean-style plantings. Plant through the fabric by cutting an "X" and folding back the flaps before replacing the gravel.

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Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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