May 17, 1997

Betting On Those Hedges Homeowners Have Numerous Options For Replacing Storm-Damaged Shrubs

Suzanne Pate Correspondent
 

Ready to hug a shrub? Most of the tall arborvitae took a hit from November’s ice storm, and gardeners are shopping for replacements this spring.

“Our customers usually want something similar to replace hedge or shrubs,” said Mario Solares at Mel’s Nursery on the North Side.

He said that he’s loading a lot of carragana and honeysuckle for hedges, and the ubiquitous pyramid arborvita remains the front-runner to fill in the blanks left by winter’s victims.

Valerie Stanek-Beasley, owner of Stanek’s Landscape Center on Spokane’s South Hill, is having the same brisk trade in arborvitae. “It’s one of the best instant hedges,” she said.

You can plant them closer together for a privacy fence, and group them for wind protection and as a green backdrop for other plantings.

She added that some people are debating about replacing their hedges with the same kind of plant, in light of the storm damage. “They’re scared it’ll happen again.”

Options to consider are hedges of lilac (less dense) or boxwood (not as tall). “Those shrubs over 8 feet tall need to be trimmed every other year,” said Solares. “If they are pruned properly, they don’t need to be tied in the fall.”

Pruning keeps the branches compact, and prevents them from bending over.

Rhododendrons prefer shade, but other flowering shrubs crave the rays. “Anything that blooms very much needs quite a bit of sun,” said Stanek-Beasley.

She and Solares agree on the popularity, color and hardiness of spirea, forsythia and lilacs. But they also concur on the beauty of roses. Solares says the tougher varieties are no less lovely for their hardiness - look for the word “rugosa” on the tag. Those marked “tea roses” need a little more attention.

“Everybody needs roses,” said Stanek-Beasley, “just because they are so beautiful. If you take care of them, they aren’t that difficult to grow.”

Her inventory provides 75 choices of roses, with names like Boy Crazy, Snow Owl, Sea Foam, Gypsy Dancer and Lavender Dream.

New in the last two years is a kind of rose called “flower carpet.” It can either tumble its blossoms from a hanging basket or go into the ground to make a low hedge 30 inches tall and up to 3 feet wide.

When you are ready to plant near transformers, meters and fireplugs, consider their visibility and the well-being of utility workers who need access to them. Thorny species such as barberries, hollies, firethorns and roses should be planted away from those utility units.

Most of the plants sold in Spokane are grown for this temperature zone and can survive subzero cold if they are properly mulched. Knowledgeable horticulturists like Solares and Stanek-Beasley are ready to equip you with all the information you need. Just ask!

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: RESOURCES The WSU/Cooperative Extension Spokane County offers a garden of information. Not only is this outfit the headquarters for the Master Gardeners Program, they also have a reading room stocked with fact sheets, books and brochures for your perusal. Phone: 533-2048. Extension horticulturist Tonie Fitzgerald suggests two Extension Service publications to guide you in your selection of plants: “Native and Adapted Landscape Plant List” ($6) offers 96 pages of information about native and non-native perennials, rock garden plants, ferns, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Includes info about their size at maturity, and needs for soil, water and sun. Indexed. “Native Plants for the Inland Northwest” ($3) has such topics as plant collection ethics, drip irrigation, soil erosion, grasses, nursery and seed sources, and resources for more information. Fitzgerald notes there are about 60 nurseries in the Inland Northwest that stock native plants. Call for more information.

This sidebar appeared with the story: RESOURCES The WSU/Cooperative Extension Spokane County offers a garden of information. Not only is this outfit the headquarters for the Master Gardeners Program, they also have a reading room stocked with fact sheets, books and brochures for your perusal. Phone: 533-2048. Extension horticulturist Tonie Fitzgerald suggests two Extension Service publications to guide you in your selection of plants: “Native and Adapted Landscape Plant List” ($6) offers 96 pages of information about native and non-native perennials, rock garden plants, ferns, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Includes info about their size at maturity, and needs for soil, water and sun. Indexed. “Native Plants for the Inland Northwest” ($3) has such topics as plant collection ethics, drip irrigation, soil erosion, grasses, nursery and seed sources, and resources for more information. Fitzgerald notes there are about 60 nurseries in the Inland Northwest that stock native plants. Call for more information.

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