Spirea care & pruning

When Spirea blooms large clusters of cascading flowers on its arching branches, the plant looks spectacular and mesmerizes the visitors.  It is a deciduous shrub that blossoms white, pink or red flowers and adds to the beauty of any landscape. Based on the timing the shrub blooms, Spireas can be grouped into two types: summer blooming or spring blooming. This shrub grows quite fast. When it reaches the 2-year mark, it starts to flower in a full-fledged fashion. Though a spirea plant is quite easy to maintain, both beginner and experienced gardeners can grow this in their backyard.

Planting

As said before, growing spirea is very easy as these are flexible in nature and have a faster growth rate. Spirea bushes now are readily available for purchase in many greenhouses or garden stores. The best time to plant this shrub is during spring. While spirea grows and expands its branches during maturity, picking an open spot to plant it is important. Also, the spot should get partial or full sun. If Spirea is not exposed to ample sunlight, the size and number of blooms decreases.

To plant spirea, you will need a spade or garden tiller, mulch, water hose, and some compost.  When you have these ready, dig a hole that is deep and wide enough to hold its root ball. If your soil is extremely dry and is not very fertile, add about 2 inches of organic matter or compost.  Next, remove the root bound plant from its pot and place it upright in the hole. Fill in the soil until the top surface of the root ball becomes one with the ground. With a water hose, thoroughly water the plant and add 2 inches of mulch to cover the area beneath the stem.

If you are planning to plant more than one Spireas, place them at least 5 to 15 feet away from each other. This way the plants get separation they need especially to the varieties that grow low. When it comes to planting time, Spireas are flexible. However, gardeners like to plant these during fall or spring to give them the time to become mature and establish before summer.

Care

To take care of spirea, you need to do simple things such as mulching and watering in summer. Overall, maintaining spirea is not time-consuming.

Watering

Spirea does not need regular watering. But for the first 3 to 4 months after planting, you need to water it every 2 days especially during drought or late fall. Roughly, Spireas require 1 gallon of water through the week, and this can be fed through a sprinkler or drip irrigation two times a week. In case the soil in which you have planted in is clay like, and it absorbs water slowly, feed water in sessions with 2 hours apart.  Daily watering is needed only when spireas are going through a drought or dry summer.

Fertilizing

Adding fertilizer once a year during the start of fall is sufficient for the nutrition of spireas. These plants are not heavy feeders on minerals and other nutrients. Spread some all-purpose slow-release fertilizer for providing steady nutrition to these plants during the growing season.

Mulching

With organic mulching, Spireas can be protected during frost and drought. Add 2 to 5-inch layer of leaves, twigs and other dry organic waste around the soil, It will protect the roots and hold the moisture intact. This also helps reduce the frequency of watering.

If you are using leaves in the mulch make sure to chop them as full leaves prevent water from entering the root. Once every two weeks, with a shovel, turn the mulch to avoid development of fungal spores and insect harbor. If there are weeds, you can hand pluck them and put them in the mulch.

Pruning

Since Spirea can grow in all ways, it needs pruning to shape it and promote new growth. Leaving them untrimmed can make the plants look less healthy as well as less charming. Spirea needs pruning at different seasons. Depending on the variety, spirea may grow up to 6 feet.

Pruning after flowering is over

On most varieties, you will need to cut the tips after flowering season is over. On the stem, cut back the topmost leaf bud and clear shears. As you prune, maintain the shrub’s shape and pluck the dead flowers to encourage the formation of new buds.

Removing overgrowth in summer

During summer, Spireas develop dead branches and these need to be cut. Also, there will be overgrown branches and stem protrudes. You can cut these slightly shorter so that they do not belittle the appearance of the plant.

Pruning during fall

During the fall, the lower part of the stem is left with some foliage after leaves from above completely fall off. Cut all the foliage within 8 to 10 inches from the ground. Do not worry about cutting the plant as it grows fast and new grown branches are capable of flowering.

Pruning during late winter

In late winter, the buds begin to get thick and start developing leaves. Also at the same time, there will be leftover or dead wood that can rub together with newly forming branches. Prune these and the newly formed ones that are too close to each other.

Temperature

Spirea is well adapted to survive in extreme cold temperatures as low as -4F or -20C. It becomes inactive during frost season and comes back to life in the spring.

Overall, the experience of growing spirea is very rewarding. It can decorate your landscape and make your home special and colorful. Give spirea a try, and you’ll love having it for many years to come at your property.

 

Pros & cons of different types of mulch

A garden needs mulch to look and produce better. The basic idea behind using it; is regulating soil temperature, retaining soil moisture, and also; reducing the growth of weed. If you do it properly, it also enhances the landscaping beauty of the garden, and also prevents soil erosion.

The thing is that nothing in this world comes with just positives, or negatives. There always remains a balance between these two; which is necessary as well. Organic and inorganic mulches are quite different. The former ones break down to provide nutrients to the soil while the latter ones don’t decompose.

Here you have the list of pros and cons of different mulches that are being used by the gardeners.

Shredded Rubber

It is an inorganic mulch that is primarily made of recycled rubber. Since there comes a lot of scrap from rubber every year, it is a great idea to use it for something beneficial.

Rubber_mulch

wikimedia

Pros:

  • It has a capability to reduce the weed growth to a significant level.
  • During flooding, mulch holds much better to the ground, which helps prevent soil erosion.
  • Yet another benefit of rubber mulch is that it repels the insects that are harmful to the growth of plants and trees.

Cons:

  • Per cubic feet, it costs much more than any other mulching material. It indeed affects the cost savings of the homeowners.
  • Since it is made of rubber, there’s no denial of the fact that it burns quickly if exposed to flame; as insignificant as a lit cigarette.
  • When you need to remove the rubber mulch from the ground, well, it is extremely challenging. You might have to take off the topmost layer of soil to do that.

Leaf Litter Mulch

Leaves fall off the trees; that’s nothing to be surprised about. And we have to get rid of them for a simple reason that they can block gutters and downpipes. One great way to remove them without actually removing them is to use the leaves for mulching. Again, it has some benefits and some negatives. Let us have a look at both the sides of the coin.

2000865_48698692

geograph

Pros:

  • Soil needs nutrients to maintain its fertility. Leaves contain a lot of nutrients which can you send back to the soil by just mulching them.
  • For the homeowners, the financial aspect of everything is a necessity. Well, with leave matter as mulch, you don’t have to spend a penny.
  • Shredding the leaves is quite easy. You just have to run a mower on them to make it happen. Or perhaps, you can use leaf shredders, which are made specifically for the purpose.

Cons:

  • Too many leaves from the native plants make the soil, ‘water repellent.’ This is because of the natural oil that these leaves contain.
  • If you don’t shred the leaf mulch, it can blow around very quickly.

Hardwood Bark Mulch

Made from the shredded barks of hardwood trees like maples and oaks, it is quite popular among the gardeners. Remember that no ground or waste wood pallets are used for the same. It is ideal for the people who want dark-brown, and not the reddish-brown color in their garden.

bark-mulch-958416_960_720

pixabay

Pros:

  • It is excellent when it comes to controlling the growth of weed.
  • Since it is made entirely of pure wood, there’s no chance that it will blow away. It is also ideal to prevent soil erosion.

Cons:

  • Hardwood mulch breaks down very quickly and thus need to be replaced sooner.
  • Also, it does not have an insect repellent quality, which is not quite great for the plants.

Conclusion

When you are looking forward to mulching your garden, make sure you know what to look out for. Every type of mulching material has something good and bad, and you must know it well in advance. The area where it has to be spread also helps you determine the type of mulch. To make it easier for you to understand, gravels and rocks look much better when used as mulch in front of a business center. Similarly, every type of mulch looks the best at a specific location. You need to find the right one for your garden.