Define a Shrub

A shrub is a low woody plant usually under 15 feet tall. “Woody” means the persistent stem structure is hard and the buds survive winter’s cold; sometimes it means a plant with multiple shoots or stems from the base. Many ornamental trees are described as “shrubby” in growth, and some large shrubs rival smaller trees in size, but usually a shrub is bushy in growth and of a stature that is visibly lower than most tree growth.

photo byslgc

photo byslgc

Shrubs provide a design feature that anchors the space between the ground and treelines, offer shelter for wildlife, and garden worthy plants create form and color in the landscape. A challenge for the home gardener is to provide sufficient space for a shrub’s ultimate mature growth, since it is such a temptation to want to use shrubs to fill in space or plant close to the house. It is easy to forget that those little plants in the one gallon pots will eventually get to a height often taller than a full grown man and usually twice that measure in width. In landscape design these plants feature in many uses, from hedges to their own space called “shrubberies”. Shrubs play a big part in creating the bones of the garden– the structure that lends a sense of permanence and order to what, otherwise, might seem to be just a conglomeration of plants.

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