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Interesting Shrubs

Last week I wrote about using groups of shrubs to add interest to your landscape. This week Ill suggest some specific shrubs for you to consider. As always, dont forget how important it is to match the plant to your site, choosing plants well suited to the growing conditions your site has to offer. Also, remember to consider the mature size of each shrub. How many times have you seen picture windows on houses blocked by shrubs that have grown too tall? Each of the following shrubs has its good points and bad points. Spend a little time now to do some research before spending money on plants that wont work for you. Chokeberry is a lovely shrub that ought to be used more. It grows 6-8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, produces white flowers in spring that turn to red or black fruit in late summer and in fall the leaves turn a beautiful red-purple color. Summersweet grows 6 feet tall and about as wide and produces long clusters of very fragrant white flowers in July when most other shrubs are not in flower and then has a beautiful yellow fall leaf color. Yellow-stemmed Dogwood is closely related to our native red-stemmed dogwood. To keep the stem color nice and bright, cut them completely back to the ground every couple of years in spring, just before the buds begin to open. Fothergilla produces fragrant white flowers in spring before its leaves emerge and has a beautiful yellow-orange-red fall color as well. Two common shrubs that have fallen out of favor because of their invasive tendencies are honeysuckle and Russian olive. Try some of the other shrubs I mentioned to bring some interest to your home yard this year. Amy Ivy is executive director with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. Office phone numbers: Clinton County 561-7450, Essex County 962-4810, Franklin County 483-7403. Visit http://ecgardening.cce.cornell.edu or email questions to askMG@cornell.edu

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