Shrubs can add color and texture to your home landscaping. But, selecting the right one takes careful consideration. This segments looks at several of these, including: evergreen or deciduous; full sun or shade; shape; texture; cold hardiness; and soil testing.

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Selecting Shrubs for Your Home

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re picking out a shrub. One of the first considerations is, do you want something that’s going to be evergreen, that will stay green year-round. Or something that’s more deciduous and will lose it’s leaves during the winter, but will have good summer interest. For instance, rose bushes have flowers.

You’ll also want to consider placement in your landscape. Will it be in full sun? Will it be against the house, where it might get some shade? Or, is it in competition with other plants such as large trees or small trees?

And, there are also design aspects to consider. What shape will this plant have as it gets larger? How big will it get? What kind of texture does it have? You can see that there is quite a bit of difference in texture here with the plants. That brings variety to your landscape, which is nice to have.

In general, you’ll want to look for a plant that’s cold hardy, in zone five. That means the roots can handle how cold it gets, and it should do well. But, we also have heat in Kansas. So, you’ll need to consider that, as well.

For most of the state, we have a high pH. So, if you want a plant that’s acid loving, and likes a low pH, it probably won’t do very well. Soil tests are an excellent way to check your soil before landscaping. It does vary from yard to yard. It’s easy to collect some soil samples in your yard and take them to your local extension agent. They’ll send them in for analysis, and they’ll give you recommendations on what you might need to do, in order to amend your soil. Or, they can tell you the status of your soil, and what types of plants you can grow in it, the way it is.

This feature story prepared with Cheryl Boyer, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Nursery Crop Production. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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