Spring blooms to autumn shades — choosing and caring for shrubs in your landscaping
Shrubs and trees form the backbone of your landscape to accentuate your perennials and annuals. Shrubs fill the sunny, shady, dry, moist areas of your yard or create stunning transitions between different areas of your garden. Their depth, texture, and color enrich the beauty of your yard and increases your curb appeal.
To help your landscape flow from spring to winter without a lapse of color, below is a list of shrubs that thrive in our Minnesota environment. We suggest selecting Minnesota shrubs that have different bloom times, bark color, or rich berries to add interest and variation.
As we move into the fall, not only do we get to enjoy the amazing golds, red and orange leaves, it is also the best time for planting new trees and shrubs. A Rock Solid landscape expert can help you design and choose the right shrub based on the location and soil type of your garden.
12 Minnesota Shrubs for All Seasons
1. Arctic Fire Dogwood
Dogwood are native Minnesota shrubs that traditionally are 10’ tall, but recent cultivated varieties are smaller and more manageable. This hardy shrub has clusters of creamy white flowers, but the real stunning characteristic in the blazing red bark that contrasts the white snow in the winter. The leaves turn a similar color in the fall.
Other dogwood varieties that we recommend include the Redosier and Tatarian. All three of these varieties should be trimmed in late fall to maintain their desired shape.
2. Black Chokecherry
The black chokecherry is a large shrub that tolerates wet soil. Its green foliage turns fire red in the fall. During the spring, it has amazing white flowers that form black berries in the summer. These berries are tart and are best used in jams, syrup, or wine. Or you can leave the fruit on the trees to provide food for the birds during winter.
3. Burning Bush
The Burning Bush has deep emerald leaves through the spring and summer. It gets its name from its fall foliage color which is a blazing red color. Plant your burning bush in full sun for the best fall color. You can prune this large forming bush into a tree if desired. In winter, it’s corky bark will catch the snow and create a whimsical snowy sparkle. However, during the winter, the bark and young stems are often food for rabbits or rodents, so you may need to protect them from this damage.
The Daphne shrub is flowering shrub that adds a delicate texture to your landscape. The Carol Mackie variety has outstanding variegated leaves of gold and green. During May and June, it has star-shaped pale pink flowers that have a rich fragrance. In the fall, it has small red, non-edible berries. This is probably the least hardy shrub on our list, but will still manage our winters. It’s interesting colors that add amazing depth to your garden are worth it.
Fothergilla is a dense shrub that does well in full sun or light shade and doesn’t require pruning unless your changing its shape. These shrubs have early blooming, unusual bottlebrush flowers that are white and fragrant. The Blue Shadow variety has unique blue leaves that turn a vivid yellowish orange color in the fall. This variety stay only 3-4 feet tall. Other varieties of Fothergilla’s leaves can change to a reddish-purple color.
6. Honeysuckle bush
The honeysuckle bush is one tough little shrub making it excellent for the difficult spots in your yard such as slopes are along a wood’s edge. It’s also a great shrub for attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The leaves are bronze-green in color, but some varieties such as Cool Splash have variegated leaves that create visual interest in your garden. Its yellow flowers arrive in late spring and the leaves turn a gorgeous red color in the fall.
The hydrangea is the showstopper of shrubs. It has large blue, white, or purple pillowy balls of flowers. The cut flowers make wonderful bouquets. The Bloomstruck variety has large purple-blue flowers with distinctive red stems. The Incrediball variety has large white flowers that tends to handle more sun that other varieties as most varieties prefer part shade.
Hydrangeas do not require annual pruning, however, snipping these plants can improve their performance and increase the size of the blooms next year.
Ninebark is a Minnesota native shrub that has showy clusters of white flowers from late spring to early summer. Its serrated lobed foliage is a deep purple, which emerges as burgundy in spring and turns an outstanding red in the fall. The peeling tan bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape throughout the year. It makes a wonderful backdrop for your other perennials.
The serviceberry is a large shrub that offers the full four-season interest with their beautiful white flowers, dark red berries, autumn leaf colors, and bark color in winter. There are many varieties of service berry including: saskatoon, June, common, and apple. Most types can be cultivated to have one tree-like trunk or can be multi-stemmed. The June berry is one the most commonly planted in Minnesota. The fruit is edible and can be made into jams and jellies.
This unique bush, with it’s beautiful purple-pink smokey plumes, make an interesting backdrop for your other garden plants. It blooms throughout the summer. Most varieties have green leaves, but some cultivars have colorful purple leaves. During the fall, the leaf color ranges from yellow to deep purple. It is an excellent choice for difficult sites in your yard as it does well in hot, dry soil.
The weigela is a small compact shrub that deserves a place in your front garden as a border, hedge, or as a foundation plant. Its variegated leaves hold their color all season long. The My Monet variety has pink rimmed leaves and deep rose-purple, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring. Another favorite of ours, the Golden Jackpot has brilliant golden leaves and deep pink flower. This shrub does loose it’s leaves in the fall, but still requires frequent watering until the ground is frozen.
12. Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel is ideal shrub for all seasons. It’s leaves open reddish bronze, mature to green, and finally change to yellow in the fall. It is an extremely late bloomer, it’s spidery yellow flowers bloom in late autumn. Your shrub will be in bloom even as the first snow hits the ground. This vase-shaped plant is excellent for open, natural areas as it can grow up to 25 feet tall.
Fall and Winter Care for Your Minnesota Shrubs
Should I wrap my trees and shrubs?
As late fall rolls around, you might start noticing burlap wrapped trees in the neighborhood. Is this necessary? Do you need to wrap your tree or shrubs through the winter?
The short answer, not usually.
If you’ve chosen plants that have a hardiness level for Minnesota (zone 4), your shrubs will tolerate our extreme Minnesota winters. However, we do recommend wrapping newly planted trees or shrubs for their first two winters. If they are a thin-barked species, wrap them for the first five winters. Also, if your plant was damaged from a previous winter, it could also benefit from wrapping this winter.
Why do you need to wrap new trees?
When we have a sunny day in the winter, it will warm your tree’s bark causing the tissue to perk up. But when the sun disappears, the bark’s temperature drops causing cracks and dryness. This is called sunscald. If you wrap your trees, start from the bottom and wrap to the first set of branches. Once the bark is rough, after a few seasons of growth, you won’t have to wrap your trees or shrubs anymore.
However, as you get ready for winter, all plants — whether mature or immature — benefit from mulch. Add a few inches of shredded bark, shredded leaves, or straw to the base of your plant after the ground is frozen.
Or you can leave the mulching and fall clean-up of your yard chore to us. We’ve got the equipment and manpower to clean up leaves from your lawn and landscape areas and take care of the hassle of disposal.
Contact us today at 763-398-0739 to get your free consultation.