Make Trees of Shrubs

first_imgCleyera (Cleyera japonica) is one of the many culprits of the overgrown-shrub dilemma.If you let it, it will grow to 20 feet tall. This plant is often pruned year after year in anattempt to keep it small. Remove a few of the bottom branches and use it as a verticalelement in your landscape. New foliage is reddish and attractive. Common privet hedge (L. sinense) is often used as a hedge. Allowed to grow up as aspecimen plant, it will resemble L. lucidum with flowers and fruit but with a smaller, moreflexible leaf. Pruned with care, it can become a weeping tree. Burford holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordi’ and Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordi Nana’). The regularBurford holly grows 15-20 feet tall and is certainly not suited as a foundation plant. Butdid you know the “dwarf” form may get 10 feet tall? Burford hollies are versatile plantsequally well-suited as shrubs or trees. The standard form makes an impressive plant as aspecimen, laden with red berries in fall, while the dwarf is good as a tree form closer to thehouse. Simply remove lower branches and tip the ends in spring to create a pleasinground-headed tree. You’ll need both a male and female plant for berries, but a number ofother species and varieties will perform this task. Making trees out of shrubs isn’t hard and can add an exciting new dimension to thelandscape. Imagine their curiosity when people see this strange new tree in your garden. Southern wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) is an outstanding native plant finding its way intoGeorgia landscapes. Although it’s often used as a hedge, its genetic variability gives eachplant character and a form all its own. So the hedge often looks misproportioned orlumpy. Why not use this plant as a tree? Its attractive, bright green foliage is aromatic ifcrushed. It produces abundant berries along new stems as the fruit develops in fall. Here are some possibilities. It is not unusual for some landscape shrubs to outgrow their allocated area. So we’re facedwith a problem.center_img Solutions to the overgrown-shrub dilemma include moving, replacing and reinventing. Thelatter refers to changing a plant from the shrub form to a tree form. Fragrant tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans) forms a nice specimen plant where it has roomto grow. But its size (20-30 feet tall) excludes its use close to the home. If it’s alreadythere, though, try pruning up the bottom branches and tipping off the new growth inspring. Ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum, L. lucidum and L. vulgare) make striking tree formswith differing textures and forms. The wax-leaf ligustrum (L. japonicum), probably thesmallest, grows 12 feet at most. It has very coarse-textured, shiny green leaves. Avariegated form also exists. Prune the bottom branches, then prune lateral buds to createan attractive overhanging canopy. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). Grows eight to 12 feet tall and generally has a treeform but is very upright. Prune it to create lateral branches and a canopy worthy of a tree.It’s deciduous, but has attractive foliage and fantastic blooms from midsummer until fall.Its many flower shades range from whites to pinks to purples and even bicolor. The planttolerates a range of soils but prefers sunny sites. Sasanqua camellia (Camellia sasanqua). It’s the same genus as the well-known Japanesecamellia. But this form spreads slightly more than its cousin. It has darker green, smallerleaves and blooms in fall. As with its close cousin, it grows taller than you would expect(10-15 feet in a good place).last_img