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The evergreen shrubs around your Northern Virginia property are a vital part of your landscape. Evergreen shrubs are valued as foundational plantings and for their year-round appeal.

Evergreen shrubs in Virginia can also provide shade, privacy, and aesthetic interest. 

Of course, like the other plants in your landscape, you want to make sure you properly maintain evergreen shrubs so that they continue to look and perform their best. Good evergreen care can help prevent problems that could end up harming your shrubs.

Here are a few tips on caring for evergreen shrubs.

#1: Identify and Treat Evergreen Shrub Diseases

A big aspect of how to maintain evergreen shrubs is being aware of potential diseases that can strike evergreens. One common disease is Needlecast Disease which is a fungal infection that can spread through the shrub.

It’s always best to spot disease early and get treatment underway quickly. If you catch some shrub diseases early enough, you can prevent severe damage. Sometimes it can be too late if you wait too long to take action.

plant health care expert inspects bushes

Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to identify what type of disease a shrub might be dealing with. In fact, environmental stress can also mimic the signs of a disease, so it can be challenging to know what is really going on.

This is why it’s important to have a professional with horticultural experience inspect your evergreen shrubs. 

A pro can identify what is really going on and implement the best course of action.

At Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape, disease control is part of our Plant Health Care program.

#2: Identify and Treat Evergreen Pest Problems

Evergreen shrubs in Virginia are also subject to various pest problems. Bagworms in evergreen shrubs are a common example of a pest that we see often. 

Bagworms are a type of caterpillar named after the silk “bag” that they form to protect themselves from weather and predators. People often notice these bags (made from both silk as well as the plant’s foliage) before they ever notice the actual pest. Bagworms actually suspend themselves from the plant on which they are feeding.


We also see scale and spider mites in evergreen shrubs.

Just like with diseases, a proactive approach is key. Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape offers proactive pest protection for shrubs and trees up to 20 feet in height.

#3: Properly Fertilize Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Caring for evergreen shrubs also means ensuring they are properly fertilized. This provides vital nutrients that shrubs need to perform their best. It also helps them to naturally defend against disease and pests.

At Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape, shrub fertilization is part of our Plant Health Care program

Although it is often assumed that ornamental trees and shrubs are self-sustaining, this isn’t the case. Because they are often planted far from their native soils, trees, and shrubs do require some extra care. 

Shrubs placed in a suburban environment can be stressed by the lack of nutrients that would have been available in a typical woodland setting. This is why using tree and shrub fertilization services can help.

Tree and shrub fertilizer also provides what your evergreens need to be healthier and stronger, which produces greener needles.

#4: Water Evergreens Properly

We want to mention the importance of watering evergreens properly. Water is the lifeblood of all living things and your evergreen shrubs are no exception. 

The exact amount of water your trees and shrubs require will depend on factors like plant size, soil structure, and temperature. 

sprinkler irrigation waters grass

In addition to putting down the right amount of water, you also want to ensure you’re performing watering correctly. There is no reason to water the foliage or your new bushes and trees. It’s the roots that need the water. Using a soaker hose is an effective way to water slowly and steadily.

#5: Don’t Forget Proper Mulching

It’s also important that we mention mulching as this is another way to either set your new landscaping up for success or sadly, failure. Mulching can be great for your plants. It acts as a barrier to protect your plants’ root systems and can even suppress weed growth. 

But if mulching is performed improperly it can actually do more harm than good. Piling mulch up against a shrub or tree (often referred to as “volcano mulching”) can be incredibly problematic.

landscape experts spread mulch

The problem with piling excessive mulch up against a plant’s trunk is that it can begin to cause bark rot. It will also cause the growth of new roots that will eventually start to strangle the life out of the plant.

This poor practice even sets your plants up for disease and pest problems.

#6: Prune Evergreen Shrubs for a Healthy and Tidy Landscape

Proper pruning is another vital way to maintain evergreen shrubs. Homeowners do not realize how detrimental pruning mistakes can be to the health of their landscape. If you make pruning errors like cutting too much of the shrub or cutting infrequently, you can actually begin to destroy your shrub.

Pruning less of the plant but more frequently is optimal. Ideally, we recommend every other month, which comes out to be five times per year. This is the sweet spot for pruning and will help keep everything looking and performing its best.

plant care expert trims bush

Another benefit to pruning more often is that it helps keep the plants looking more natural and less obvious that they’ve been pruned. It’s a lot like getting a haircut. It would be a very obvious difference—long then suddenly short. But regular pruning maintains more of a consistent, attractive look.

When a professional handles pruning your shrubs for you, you can feel confident that it’s getting done right.

Investing in Professional Landscaping Services in Arlington, Alexandria, and Springfield, VA

At the end of the day, we recognize that there’s a lot involved in caring for evergreen shrubs. That’s why it makes sense to partner with a professional who can help be your guide. 

At Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape, we can handle many of these services for you. Tasks like pruning and mulching can be performed by our expert landscaping team.

In addition, as we’ve mentioned, we also have a Plant Health Care program that takes a proactive approach to disease and pest control. It also includes fertilization services that help keep your shrubs in optimal shape. 

We know that you might have a lot of questions about how to care for evergreen shrubs, but we are here to help.

At Kingstowne, you can count on us to always steer you in the right direction and give you your viable options. With trained horticulture experts on staff, we know exactly what your plants need to perform their best. 

We are also well-versed in all the nuances and details of disease and pest problems so that if an issue does arise, we can take swift action. This should give you peace of mind that your landscape is in the best possible hands.

If you’d like to discuss plant health care in Arlington, Alexandria, and Springfield, VA for your landscape shrubs and trees under 20 ft. in height, request a quote, get your customized plan, and relax knowing that you’re getting the royal treatment.

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Image Source: Bagworm

Krisjan Berzins - Owner, CEO

Since 1997, Krisjan has led the Kingstowne team with one simple philosophy, treat every customer like the “only” customer. His passionate pursuit of impeccable customer service has resulted in 24 successful years and a thriving company with over 85 employees, helping thousands of homeowners in the Alexandria, Arlington, and Springfield, VA area get what they want -- a worry-free property they can be proud of.