Beginner's Guide To Trees & Shrubs in Kansas City

Has Tree and Shrub Care Got You Baffled?

When you’re a Kansas City homeowner, you take a certain pride in the look of your landscape. Accenting beautiful turf, trees and shrubs can spruce up your curb appeal and give your yard that pop to make it look truly exceptional.

But if your trees and shrubs are looking a bit worse for wear, they can start to bring down the overall look of your yard! If you could use a few pointers to help you get the most out of your plants, check out our tips for getting gorgeous trees and shrubs. In no time, you’ll have a landscape you can be proud to show off!

Our Beginner’s Guide to Trees and Shrubs

While in theory, tree and shrub care can seem straightforward - successfully ensuring the health and vitality of trees and shrubs in the Kansas City climate is easier said than done. Without proper care, trees and shrubs can easily get sick, wither, and die.

To get the most out of your trees and shrubs, you have to be sure you are giving them what they need to thrive. Enjoy your yard without spending all of your free time in the dirt! Check out our beginner’s guide to trees and shrubs for a crash course in caring for these plants!

Step 1: Know Your Plants

It may surprise you to know that not every tree and shrub is well-suited to every landscape. Every plant has its own unique needs and preferences, and if they are not catered to, they cannot thrive. That’s why, above all else, it is important to ensure that you are working with trees and shrubs that are well suited to the Kansas City terrain.

Kansas City is home to some drastic climate types. With hot, humid summer weather influenced by the Gulf of Mexico and chilling winters influenced by the Arctic winds, Kansas City can be a difficult environment for some plants. Because of this, it is so important to make sure you are choosing the best trees and shrubs for your yard.

In Kansas City, some great trees to spruce up your landscape include:

  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Hedge Maple
  • Weeping Mulberry
  • Sugar Maple
  • Red & White Oak

Not only is it important to know your trees, it is just as important to know your shrubs. Shrubs that not only survive but thrive in Kansas City include:

  • Boxwoods
  • Azaleas
  • Hydrangeas
  • Spirea
  • Juniper

These are some great “do’s,” but what about the “don’ts?” When it comes to trees, some tips for what NOT to plant include fast-growing species. I know, you want that beautiful curb appeal as soon as you can have it, but have you heard the saying, “Good things take time?” Many types of fast-growing trees are brittle, having an interior makeup that can lead to severe breakage during our seasonal storms.

Some tree species to stay away from include:

  • Silver Maple
  • Silver Poplar
  • Bradford trees

If you’re not sure what you’re working with, or you would like recommendations specific to your yard, contact your local garden supply or nursery!

Step 2: Get the Right Tools for the Job

When you’re starting any project, ensuring you have the right tools is a given. Why should caring for trees and shrubs be any different? When dealing with your plants, it is important to have quality, efficient tools to help you take care of them, so you can spend less time working on your landscape and more time enjoying it.

Do you have these tools in your arsenal?

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Pruning Shears
  • Gardening gloves
  • Sturdy shoes, long-sleeved tops, and long pants

Once you have the right tools, you’ve set yourself up for success!

Step 3: Proper Planting

Are you adding new trees and shrubs to your yard? If you are, you’ll want to be sure you’re practicing proper planting techniques! Adhere to the following steps to ensure perfect planting every time:

  • Choose a spot for your new tree or shrub that aligns with its water, soil, and lighting needs.
  • Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the roots of your tree or shrub.
  • Unwrap the roots so that they are bare and open, removing dirt, mulch, or soil debris from around the root structure.
  • Soak the exposed roots in a bucket of water for a few hours so they can be hydrated the moment they are planted in the soil.
  • Prune the plant for any broken branches or dead places before you place it in its new home.
  • Place the roots carefully into the hole and make sure that the tree is level and balanced. Then, fill the hole around the roots with good quality soil.
  • Protect the bark! Even trees can get sunburnt, after being planted, wrap the trunk with a light-colored material to protect it, or even paint it white!

If your tree seems like it isn’t flourishing right off the bat, don’t worry. Even trees get stressed out! Every tree suffers from some amount of what is called “transplanting stress,” where a tree is trying to reestablish and regenerate a balanced root system.

What you can do to make sure your tree planting process goes as seamless as possible includes:

  • Proper site preparation
  • Planting technique
  • And post-planting maintenance

Step 4: Prune Like a Pro!

When caring for trees and shrubs, the importance of pruning cannot be overstated.

You may have heard the term, but do you know its story? Pruning sounds like a daunting, overwhelming task, but it is actually quite simple. Pruning is simply trimming away dead or overgrown branches and stems. Not only can it make your plants look better, it helps to keep them healthy and ensures that they will come back after a dormant period.

To properly prune your trees and shrubs, follow these tips:

  • Always use sharp shears when pruning your plants. Dull shears can damage them!
  • Cut back diseased, dying, or unhealthy stems to the healthy wood. This will help reduce the amount of death and decomposition and improve the overall health of your plants.
  • Many plants benefit from an annual pruning, however, some plants like hydrangeas do not! Check with your local nursery to determine the pruning needs of your plants before you snip!

Don’t forget, it’s important to prune your plants just before you plant them, as well as throughout their lifespan, but the pruning of newly-planted trees and shrubs should typically be done in moderation. You want to try to maintain as much of the natural form of the tree or shrub as possible. Also! Make sure not to over-fertilize, as over-fertilization can backfire, leaving you with weaker plants that are susceptible to damage and disease!

Step 5: Be a Watering Wizard!

Although watering plants might seem like an easy and straightforward task, the truth is it’s a delicate science. Many people are improperly watering their plants, leaving them to be overhydrated or thirsty! To ensure that you are properly watering your trees and shrubs, try these tips on for size:

  • Water your trees and shrubs early in the morning before the sun comes up. This ensures that the water has time to reach the roots before it gets evaporated by the sun, but doesn’t soak the roots too much that they get overhydrated.
  • Keep your watering to three times per week maximum, especially if there is rain in the forecast. Bogging down your trees with too much water can invite disease, fungus, and other problems.
  • After each watering session, check your soil, trees, and shrubs to make sure they are getting adequate moisture. Checking your plants often ensures that you can keep an eye on how they are doing, and adjust your watering regimen to fit their needs.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Now that you’ve successfully spruced up your curb appeal, it’s time to enjoy it!
Don’t worry if they don’t look perfect or if they start growing like wildfire right after transplantation. Like a fine wine, trees and shrubs only get better with time.

While you’re waiting for your curb appeal to fully flourish, check out some local landscapes to inspire you - The Oregon Trail is full of rich history, and that history begins locally! The Oregon Trail trailhead runs right through the Kansas City area, with beautiful landscapes and historical sights, you’re not going to want to miss it!

Still Having Trouble? Call In the Professionals!

If you are still having issues keeping your trees and shrubs looking happy and healthy, you don’t have to struggle any longer. Here at Quality All-Care, we offer professional tree and shrub care services in Kansas City that can have your plants looking their best in no time. Our trained professionals can give your trees and shrubs everything they need to be vibrant and lush without you having to lift a finger. Let us do all the heavy lifting so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a gorgeous landscape accented by healthy and thriving trees and shrubs.

Are you ready for trees and shrubs you can be proud of? Learn more about our tree care services in Kansas City today!