By Tom Dominguez
There’s no better time to plant hardy woody plants than fall. Weather and soil conditions are perfect for root growth and establishment.
Trees usually get the attention, but shrubs shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here are a few to consider:
An underused, old fashioned, but good shrub is glossy abelia, It is a semi-evergreen shrub that grows 5 to 8 feet tall and wide. It has small, attractive dark green glossy leaves on arching stems. Winter leaf color is a purple-green to a bronzy green beginning in late fall. During severe winters, the shrub will drop its leaves, but it will usually remain evergreen.
Glossy abelia blooms from late spring through summer and even into fall with clusters of white to light pink, bell shaped, fragrant flowers.
After the flowers drop, dusty pink colored sepals persist, looking like miniature bunches of dried flowers.
Abelia is a versatile plant that will tolerate sun or shade, accepts many types of soils, even poor soils and dry conditions. If watered and mulched, it will reward you with more flowers. One of the few problems that sometimes seen with abelia is an iron deficiency when growing in alkaline soils.
Glossy abelia can be used as an accent plant, screen or hedge.
Indian hawthorn, raphiolepis indica, is an outstanding evergreen shrub.
These shrubs will grow 3 feet to a towering 12 to 15 feet tall.
Most are grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. They have attractive oval or elliptical, dark green, leathery leaves. Indian hawthorn has a spectacular spring bloom of rose, pink or white clusters of flowers.
Indian hawthorn produces dense growth and will grow in full sun and or light to medium shade. They can be used massed in bed or used as hedges or even accent plants. There are many cultivars on the market with various sizes and flower colors.
Many Indian hawthorns are dwarf and grow slowly so these should not be severely pruned or they will suffer before fully recovering.
Medium and large growers are more vigorous and may require some pruning for shaping and training purposes.
Indian hawthorn is susceptible to a fungal leaf spot, especially if they are in shade, are sprinkle irrigated and in a site with poor air movement. They also can have an aggravating, elusive little snout beetle that feeds on the leaf margin creating notches. The other problem they suffer from is flower bud damage inflicted by a late spring freeze, which can totally spoil the spring bloom.
There are many other shrubs that will grow in local landscapes like several hollies, spirea, cotoneaster, mahonia, pomegranates, junipers, photinia, crape myrtle and more.
Request a recommended plant list from the Extension office, at 461 0562.
From now through November conditions are excellent for planting new woody plants, so take advantage of the season by evaluating and updating your landscape.
Tom Dominguez is an agent with the Quay County Extension, NMSU Extension Service. He can be reached by emailing tdomingu@NMsu.edu or calling 461-0562.