Types of Michigan Shrubs & Different Care They May Need

Shrubs are a vital component of any garden or landscape design, providing a variety of colors and textures for a well-rounded outdoor composition. However, distinct varieties will require different types of care to thrive.

Best Shrubs For The Michigan Climate

This is particularly true in Michigan, where the variable climate and soil conditions can pose unique challenges to their overall health. This article explores the different types of shrubs commonly found in Michigan and the care they need to flourish.

Deciduous Shrubs

Deciduous shrubs are a popular choice in Michigan, losing their leaves during the fall and winter and regrowing them in the spring. Their ability to withstand the state’s harsh winters makes them a mainstay for many gardeners, with the Spirea, Hydrangea, and Lilac varieties at the top of many homeowner’s lists.

Spirea is a versatile shrub that thrives in a wide range of soil and light conditions and requires regular pruning to maintain its shape. The best time to do this is early spring before new growth emerges.

If possible, avoid planting Spirea in full shade, as this will result in stunted growth and the size of blooms. Position your shrubs somewhere with well-drained soil, as they prefer drier roots.

Hydrangeas are another popular deciduous shrub for planting in Michigan. One thing to consider is the pH level, as these plants prefer acidic soil, making it essential to amend the soil with sulfur or other acidic fertilizers before planting. Hydrangeas also require regular watering, particularly during the hot, dry summer.

Lilacs are beloved for their fragrant, showy blooms and ability to keep specific bugs at bay. Prune them at least once a year to ensure they bloom to their full potential. They thrive best in well-draining soil, with total sun exposure, if possible.

Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs retain their leaves year-round, providing greenery and structure to landscapes in any season. Some popular evergreen shrubs in Michigan include Boxwood, Juniper, and Yew.

Boxwood is a common choice for hedges and topiary due to its dense, compact growth habit. These shrubs require well-draining soil and partial to full sun exposure. However, it should be noted that there can be difficulties in surviving particularly tough Michigan winters. They must receive the proper soil conditions and protection to have the best chances of overwintering.

Junipers make for a low-maintenance evergreen shrub alternative that can be found throughout the State. Junipers tolerate a wide range of soil and light conditions but struggle when planted in poorly drained, boggy areas, which will cause problems later in their lifecycle.

Yews are yet another popular choice of evergreen shrubs. They prefer well-draining soil and partial to full sun exposure. Annual pruning is required to promote healthy growth. Yews are known to be more versatile than other shrubs but still need several hours of sunshine each day to encourage healthy growth.

Fruit-Bearing Shrubs

Fruit-bearing shrubs produce edible fruit, providing pros and cons to your landscape. While it’s always great to pick fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, they can also attract unwelcome pests. Dealing with pests is always something to factor in when planning your growing schedule and the items needed to get the most out of fruit-bearing shrubs.

The correct fertilizers will promote fruit production, and you must also consider where to plant them. Raspberries and blackberries require well-draining soil and full sun exposure, as well as annual pruning to promote healthy fruit production. To avoid missing out on a bumper crop, ensure that your blueberry bushes are receiving full sun exposure and avoid planting near trees, as these can disrupt the air movement around the shrubs.

Native Shrubs

Native shrubs are those that are indigenous to Michigan and are adapted to the state’s climate and soil conditions. These plants are often low-maintenance and can provide critical habitat and food sources for local wildlife.

Some common native shrubs in Michigan include Red chokeberry, Buttonbush, and Ninebark. It is important to restore and boost the nutrients back into the trees and shrubs that may have been depleted over the winter months. The right amount of nutrition your trees and shrubs receive early on will ensure healthy growth and protect them from the risk of acquiring diseases, bugs, and pests and being able to sustain in inclement weather.

Let Safari Tree Help Plan Your Garden

We can help with your most important yard decisions, including providing expert know-how on getting the most out of your trees and shrubs. To get a free estimate for your yard, contact Safari Tree today.