Shrubs & Hedges

“More grows in the garden than the gardener sows.”
— Spanish proverb

Growing a garden is a rewarding investment. Because it is a community of living things, it is constantly changing over time due to growth, weather conditions, and other factors. With some guidance and nurturing, planters and gardens can truly flourish.

Shrubs and hedges provide the overarching structure of your school planting (along with trees). Select low maintenance evergreen shrubs and hedges to keep the planting looking its best year round.


While getting established, keep in mind that much like trees, shrubs and hedges will likely require extra irrigation. A volunteer watering schedule can help to keep these plants happy through this critical period. In general, you will want to select shrubs and hedges that have low irrigation needs throughout their lifetime.


Once a year, shrubs and hedges should be inspected and pruned if needed. Any dead branches should be removed, and the shrub or hedge can be reshaped if desired. Reasons for reshaping include preserving lines of sight, and preventing overgrowth.

Clipping a tall hedge (Image: United Way of the Lower Mainland)

Clipping a tall hedge. (Image: United Way of the Lower Mainland)

Regular Upkeep

Regular fertilizing will keep shrubs and hedges happy, healthy, and looking their best. This is a good time to inspect for any pests or diseases as well. Shrubs with diseases that can spread to surrounding plants should be promptly removed and replaced.

Diseases like boxwood blight should be addressed as soon as they are discovered. Image: Oregon Department of Agriculture

Diseases like boxwood blight should be addressed as soon as they are discovered. (Image: Oregon Department of Agriculture)