How to Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Trees, shrubs, and vines form the background of your home's landscape. Without them, beds and borders would seem to float on a sea of grass. Trees, shrubs, and vines define the landscape, indicating its limits and breaking it up into separate parts.

Every yard needs more than just pretty flowers to make it complete. You'll want the grandeur of trees arching over overhead; shrubs provide privacy and protection; vines can fill in bare walls or fences. In this article, we'll show you how woody plants can fit into your landscape.
  • Choosing a Tree

    Trees, shrubs, and vines make up a vital part of the landscape, yet many people purchase them with no more thought that deciding what to eat for dinner that night. They go to the nursery, pick out a plant that looks interesting, and plant it where they think it looks good. Never for an instant do they consider its needs or its eventual size or shape. In this section, we'll talk about the different options to consider when choosing a tree, and also teach you how to navigate the nursery.

  • Planting a Tree

    While an annual can be a temporary planting, woody plants are another story. Most trees, shrubs, and vines should be considered permanent parts of your landscape. The real secret to success with plants is not taking meticulous care of them (which still helps, especially for the first few years), but also planting them in the right place at the start. In this section we'll help you understand the situation of soil type, drainage, and exposure that you're dealing with so it will be far easier to choose trees, shrubs, and vines that will adapt well to your yard's conditions.

  • Tree Planting Tips

    Learning about woody plants and their needs and taking into account the conditions in your yard are just the first steps in growing trees, shrubs, and vines. You also need to know how to plant them. Planting a tree, shrub, or vine properly is the most important step in growing it. If the plant gets off to a poor start, it might never recover enough to become a useful element of your landscape. Put extra effort into those first few hours of care, and your plant will have a long, healthy existence. The planting tips in this section will show you how.

  • Growing a Tree

    Once planted, shrubs, trees, and vines are permanent landscape features that need little care. As plants grow, their shapes change and they can complement even the biggest house. With each passing year, big trees grow more valuable, increasing the worth of your house and property. Yes, it's true that, once planted, trees need little encouragement to grow. However, if you want your plants to give the best performance, you do have to meet their needs. Careful fertilizing and mulching will ensure that your trees, shrubs, and vines look their best. We'll get down in the weeds in this section.

  • Caring for Trees

    Maintain your landscape throughout the years so that another generation may look upon the trees, shrubs, and vines that you planted. Caring for trees is not as much work as caring for a puppy, but they still do need you to look after them. There are the basics like making sure that your woody plants have enough food and water. Then, there are the slightly more complicated tasks like ensuring that your trees, shrubs, and vines are protected for winter. We'll give you a few tips in this section to help you best care for your trees.

  • Preventing Hazards

    You've been hearing how easy trees, shrubs, and vines are to grow and maintain. In the best of all possible worlds, it would be nice to just plant them and only reap the benefits of their growth. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible. Occasionally, things go wrong. More often than not, problems occur from accidents or natural phenomena beyond your control. Some damage to trees, shrubs, and vines may be prevented, as long as you're aware of the problem. Others seem to appear overnight and can't be stopped, but you can be prepared. In this section, we'll tackle the hazards that your trees, shrubs, and vines may encounter. With you alongside, doing what you can, your woody plants can live through some of the worst gardening calamities and thrive again.

  • Pruning Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

    Pruning is the element of growing trees that makes gardeners nervous. They never seem sure of what to prune, how much to prune, when to prune, how to prune, or even exactly what it means to prune. Pruning is one of the largest maintenance requests your woody plants will ask of you. The good news is that it's pretty easy to do, once you get the hang of it. Some gardeners even find the task so fun that they prune for decoration, rather than just the maintenance of trimming back the tree's growth. In this section, we'll teach you how to get a natural shape, or an ornate one, and define once and for all what pruning is all about. You'll even get to impress your friends by talking about the brilliant espalier that you did.

  • Planting and Maintaining Shrubs

    Shrubs are easy to maintain, but different than your standard perennial. You'll find out how to prepare roots before planting shrubs in the ground or in containers. We'll also show you which shrubs require significant pruning in order to thrive. This is especially true of some shrubs when first planted. This section also provides great ideas on how to use shrubs as design elements in your yard or garden. Because of the unique shapes and vertical and horizontal versatility of shrubs, you can really take advantage of woody plants for hiding unsightly areas of your house or yard. A well-designed shrub garden can help you to create privacy. Shrubs can even help you enhance the natural look of annuals and perennials. Learn how.

  • Planting and Maintaining Vines

    One of the greatest things about vines is that you can control them. Decide how tall, how wide, and how dense you want your plant to be, and we'll teach you how to achieve just the look you're going for, or even help you secure the amount of privacy you want to keep the neighbors' prying eyes out. You can also use vines to hide a chain-link fence or another eyesore that you've been trying to get rid of for years. Before you know it, that dead tree stump will be a colorful garden pillar. Use the suggestions in this section to make the right selections -- twining vines, vines with tendrils, or clinging vines -- based on the requirements you need.

  • Lots More Information

    Just when you thought there couldn't be more information on how to plant trees, shrubs, and vines, we find the sources to help you learn even more about this aspect of gardening.
Let's get started by choosing the right trees for your garden.