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Bushes and trees aren’t necessarily always the showstopper of a property, but they are necessary to provide a grounding element to allow for other plants to really pop out.
We all know what a tree looks like – A thick, woody trunk with many smaller branches that stem out of it. As plants with tall heights and long lifespans, they are essential to adding a vertical element to your yard. Because of the bark that surrounds them as a protective layer and thick roots that anchor it strongly into the ground, they can stand up to the elements that provide a constancy that many other plants cannot provide. Many trees also have flowers that can add a pop of color to your property.
Bushes and shrubs, on the other hand, help provide structure to your yard. Like trees, they also are woody-stemmed plants, but they are different because of their multiple stems and also shorter heights. There is no formal definition to differentiate a shrub versus a tree, but typically they are shorter than about 15 feet.
Using both trees and bushes on a property is important for good design. Keep browsing below to see our different guides about taking care of and maintaining them. Also make sure to check out the rest of our articles.
Weeping Cherry Tree: Everything You Need to KnowWeeping Cherries are a graceful trees with cascading branches that fill with pastel colors of pink and white. This is a wonderful addition to any property and can be maintained with the proper care. Come learn more!
Saucer Magnolia Tree: A Complete GuideThe saucer magnolia, also called the Chinese magnolia, has elegant and delicate pink flowers that make it a beautiful tree. It is not tough to maintain with a proper care guide. Come here to learn more!
Black Walnut Tree: A Complete Care GuideThe Black Walnut Tree is a magnificent tree that will grow for years and years in your yard. The large, dark green leaves and the unforgettable black walnuts make this tree a unique specimen for any landscape.
Red Oak Trees: Everything You Need to KnowThis beautiful species of oak is known for its dark reddish gray brown, which has deep ridges.
Its leaves are are initially pinkish-red in the spring, but turn to lustrous dark green in summer and then to russet-red to bright red in autumn. It is a fast grower and makes a great addition to home landscapes.
How to Grow Beech TreesA truly majestic and useful tree, the beech is known for its steel-gray bark that contrasts against its reddish-brown wood. These slow-growing trees can live 400 years and grow upwards of 120 feet tall. Their dense canopies make them a great shade tree, and paper thin leaves allows dappled sunlight to filter through them.
Mulberry Trees Care GuideFound in many temperate regions around the globe, and in almost all 50 states in the US, the mulberry tree is a fast-growing deciduous tree. The three most common species are the white, common, and silkworm mulberry. These prized shade trees bear dark purple to black fruits and their wood is used to smoke meats.
Weeping Willows: Planting, Landscaping and Care GuideRecognized for its open crown of graceful, ground-sweeping branches, the weeping willow is surrounded by symbolism and mystery. Trees are short lived but put on an impressive 48-inches of growth every year and have a hearty root system. Thin, flat leaves appear early in the year and grow to be as long as a dollar bill, turning yellow in the fall.
Hickory Tree Care GuideHickory trees are a majestic, easy to care for shade tree. With shock-resistant wood and one of the most calorie-dense nuts, these trees have ridged, flakey gray bark and leaves with serrated edges. Trees grow 60 to 80-feet tall with a 40-foot spread. Of the 18 different species, 12 are native to the United States.
Pine Tree Growing and Planting GuideWith over 120 species, pine trees are known for their scale-like bark, resinous sap, cones, and needles ranging from deep green to a light bluish-green. Branches grow out from the tree trunk in a tight spiral and keep their color year-round. Species are grouped into two subgenus, based upon characteristics such as needle numbers and cones.
Dogwood Tree: Comprehensive GuideDogwood trees are known for their beauty, with the flowering dogwood thought to be the prettiest flowering tree in America. The popular varieties of this deciduous tree are grown in USDA zones 2 to 9, with each type displaying unique, magnificent blooms. They thrive in acidic soils and have high water requirements.
Oak Tree: Everything You Need to KnowOne of the longest living types of trees, oaks can survive upwards of a millennium. With over 600 different species, all varieties have enormous trunks, branches, showy bark, and acorns with cup-like caps. Since they mature into large trees with extremely wide canopies they are best suited for homes with large yards.
Jacaranda Tree: Comprehensive GuideA jacaranda tree adds amazing color to your yard, putting on a striking show of purple to signify the arrival of spring. This hardy tree does best in subtropical and tropical climates making it best suited for USDA zones 9 through 11. Mature trees grow quickly, reaching 40 feet tall and 60 feet wide.
Indian Laurel Fig – Everything You Need to KnowAlso known as a Chinese banyan tree, the Indian laurel fig is an evergreen species that retain their glossy green foliage year round. The bark is smooth and light gray, and the wood considered softer and weak because of the tree's fast growth rate. A unique root system makes this tree one to remember. Aerial roots form from the branches, hanging down to the ground and rooting, doubling or tripling the width of the tree's trunk.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree CarePopular as a backdrop to pools and other water features, the pygmy date palm reaches its full height of 8 to 12 feet in 5 to 10 years. Native to subtropical areas, they grow best in zones 10 and 11, unable to tolerate frost on cold nights. In colder climates they can be grown in containers and overwintered indoors as a houseplant.
Chinese Elm Tree – Care GuideThe Chinese elm grows as both a deciduous and evergreen tree, depending upon the climate where it's grown. In warm areas it lives as an evergreen, maintaining its glossy dark green leaves year round. In colder climates, the leaves on the long arching branches turn bright shades of purple, yellow, and red, falling to the ground as temperatures drop. Trees can live from 50 to 150 years when properly cared for.
Queen Palm Tree Care – Everything You Need to KnowOne of the most popular ornamental palms used in landscaping, the Queen Palm tolerate a variety of climates in hardiness zones 9 to 11. Specimens grow about 6 feet per year, topping out around 50 feet tall and spanning 25 feet wide. Fronds grow out of the top of the trunk to form the distinguishable "crown".
Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree – A Great AlternativeA faux fiddle leaf fig tree is a great alternative to a true fiddle leaf fig, requiring very little care. These artificial plants have a realistic look and help to pull together a living space. Large, waxy leaves appear very lifelike and help to drawn attention to surrounding decor.
Japanese Maple: Care and MaintenanceJapanese Maple trees add elegance and stunning color to landscape with their brilliant shades of red and green. Available in sizes from dwarf species to standard varieties that reach 25-feet tall, there is a variety suitable for every space. These slow-growing trees only grow 1 to 2 feet a year and are cold hardy down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Green Giant Arborvitae – Everything You Need to KnowGrowing 3-5 feet a year, and topping out at 60 feet tall, Green Giant arborvitae are perfect for hedges and privacy screens. They stay full and green year-round and are resistant to insect pest problems, as well as deer. These evergreens are adaptable to most hardiness zones if they have well-draining soil and plenty of room to grow.
Fruit Trees That Grow In The DesertLiving in the desert doesn't mean your garden has to be barren of fruit trees. Certain varieties of plum, apple, pomegranate, and peach thrive in the arid climates. Look for varieties with low-chill requirements that produce fruit that ripens before hot summer temperatures. Regardless of the type, make sure it's given plenty of water and appropriate care.
Emerald Cedar – A Planting and Care GuideThe narrow pyramidal shape and decorate fan-shaped leaves of the Emerald Cedar make it a popular arborvitae species in landscapes. These plants thrive in growing zones 2 to 7, and grow to about 15 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Younger plants have a bright-yellow green foliage that deepens to emerald green with age.
How to Rot Out a Tree StumpIt may sound unconventional, but rotting a tree stump out of the ground is a great alternative if grinding or burning it out isn't feasible. After drilling holes into the stump, different chemicals are put into the holds to disintegrate the wood. This process needs to be repeated every month and can take up to 12 months to rot a stump to its roots.
8 Different Types of Desert Trees to Consider GrowingDesert dwellers aren't limited to cacti and native grasses in their landscapes. There are numerous trees such as the desert willow, sweet acacia, and Texas mountain laurel that thrive in arid, hot climates. Different varieties are available in varying heights, flowers colors, and growth habits.
When is the Best Time to Plant Bushes?The best time of year to plant bushes and trees is early to mid fall, giving the plant time to establish a healthy root system before spring. If this isn't possible aim to plant in early spring just after the lost winter frost when the ground thaws. Planting in the summer leads to short roots that grow close to the surface.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Interior Design: 7 Inspirational IdeasThe gigantic, glossy leaves on the fiddle leaf fig make it an impressive houseplant. It can add character to the surrounding decor, while highlighting the plant's beautiful features. Incorporate them into interior design to foster relaxation, create an illusion of movement, or help shrink high ceilings.
How to Trim Boxwoods – 5 Important TipsTrimming boxwoods properly is key to keeping shrubs beautiful and healthy. Prune once a year in the spring using pruning shears, loppers, or hedge trimmers. Perform touch ups through mid-summer if necessary. Immediately remove dead or deceased branches.
Arborvitae Turning Brown – How to Prevent it From HappeningSeeing your arborvitae trees turn brown is quite disheartening. They may turn brown naturally due to seasonal needle drop or because of fungal diseases, winter burn, and pests. Understanding why it's turning brown is essential to keep it from reoccurring.
15 Boxwood Types (The Most Popular Ones)Boxwoods are incredible versatile, evergreen shrubs that maintain green foliage all year. There are over 90 species, and 365 different varieties. The most common types are divided into 5 subcategories: small-leaved, Japanese, Korean, common, and hybrid cultivars. Read on to find out more about the 15 most popular types.
Trimming Arborvitae – 7 Common Mistakes People MakeArborvitae are easy to grow, but they are often trimmed incorrectly. Make sure to remove overgrowth in the spring and fine tune in the summer. Prune heavily before plants break dormancy, and never remove more than one-third of the plant's foliage. Avoid cutting into old wood and constantly step back to observe your work.
How to Plant BoxwoodPlant boxwood in late winter or early spring in a spot that gets a combination of sun and shade. These slow-growing evergreen shrubs grow best when sheltered from the intense afternoon sun. The soil should be neutral to slightly alkaline and drains well. They make great borders or backdrops and can be shaped into topiary forms.
Arborvitae Types: 7 of the Most Popular VarietiesArborvitae are common landscape plants as they are easy to care for and resistant to insect and disease problems. The most popular types are Emerald Green, Green Giant, Firechief, American, Dwarf Golden, Golden Globe, and North Pole. Each type has its own striking characteristics that make it popular.
How to Plant ArborvitaePlant arborvitae in late winter or early spring to construct a privacy screen, living fence, or windbreak. Choose a well-draining spot where they get full sun or partial shade and have plenty of room to grow. Space plants according to their anticipated mature size, not how big they are when planting.
Caring for Fiddle Leaf Fig — Making it Easy with our GuideCaring for an indoor fiddle leaf fig is a little more involved than other houseplants, but worth the effort. Give the plant 8 to 12 hours of bright, filtered light every day and rotate the container frequently. Water thoroughly when the potting soil starts to feel dry. It's also good to clean the leaves regularly to remove dust that blocks openings on the leaves.
Black Locust Tree Care GuideBlack locust are a fantastic addition to landscapes in USDA zones 4 to 8. They grow to a massive 80 feet tall with canopies spreading up to 30 feet wide. Irregular branching casts light, dappled shade below, creating an oasis for plants needed partial shade. In the spring their fragrant flowers attract honeybees.
Ash Trees: Everything You Need to KnowAsh trees are exceptional, medium to large sized trees suited for growing in USDA zones 2 through 9. They are identifiable by their opposite branching -- each limb has a mate protruding from the opposite side of the trunk. Older trees are recognizable by the diamond bark pattern.
Sycamore Tree: Comprehensive GuideThe massive sycamore tree may reach 100 feet tall or more, with a trunk measuring more than seven feet in diameter. Their distinctive bark is usually white or light gray and their large leaves are light green. Surprisingly strong, even young specimens are able to withstand high winds and deep snow.
Cedar Trees – Care Guide and TipsMore popular in large yards, tall stately cedar trees make excellent windbreaks. Plants may grow up to 200 feet tall, depending upon their variety and range in color from dark green to more bluish hues. All varieties are coniferous evergreens that keep color all year.
Banyan Tree – Care and Grow GuideA type of fig tree, Banyan ficus is a mystical, awe-inspiring plant. They grow when their seeds lands on other trees, sending down roots that smother the host. Over time they can spread to encompass vast areas.
Palm Tree – Complete Care GuidePalm trees are known for their distinctive look -- a single trunk with fan-shaped or feather-shaped evergreen leaves. Native to tropical areas they grow best in warm climates (zones 8 and above) and prefer loose, sandy soil. Plant them in spots where they get full sun and keep the soil moist.
Olive Tree – Growing GuideOlive trees prefer full sun and warmth, thriving in USDA growing zones 9-11. They grow at a moderate rate to reach 30 to 50 feet in height. Olive species are drought tolerant, tolerate slightly alkaline soil, and are not suited for growing in the shade.
Birch Tree: A Growing GuideEasily identified by their thin, papery bark in white, yellow, or gray, birch trees are frequently found in colder climates of the Northern hemisphere. With a shallow root system, they prefer moist soil and afternoon shade. They have a tendency to colonize open areas and offer stunning color displays when foliage turns in the fall.
How to Care for Cottonwood TreesWith a rich history and large, stately shape, cottonwood trees are a fast-growing native of the United States. Growing 6 feet a year in zones 2 through 9, they reach over 100 feet tall and almost as wide. Female trees disperse a white cottony covering from their seeds as they ripen in the summer, giving the tree its common name.
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About the author: Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at TheGreenPinky. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.