better outdoor living at home spring

Do You Really Want to Install That Tree as a Shrub?

We have seen this plant installation a number of times, and it is unfortunate, because landscape plants aren’t cheap, and this tree’s enhancement to the yard could have been so effective in the right location.

Some homeowners may take a liking to a certain landscape plant at the garden center and buy it without giving any concern as to whether it is a tree or a shrub, and, just how large it will grow.

We really don’t think that anyone would install an evergreen tree this size (see photo), this close to their house. So we are surmising that it was installed as if it were a shrub, a while ago when it was about 4’or 5’ tall.



We have to say that this is a beautiful spruce tree (maybe a Colorado spruce?). But it has outgrown its space, and looks out of place. Areas that have overgrown plants can give the space a cramped feeling (especially, if it is an outdoor gathering space), and an unkempt appearance.

Even though a 4’ -5’ evergreen tree can have quite a similar appearance to an evergreen shrub, it is a tree, not a shrub. How impossible would it be to maintain an evergreen tree as a ‘shrub’ when it is capable of reaching great heights (40′-60′) and widths?


We took this photo at a garden center of a young spruce tree that is about 5′ – 6′ in height. It could easily be mistaken for a shrub, but it is definitely a tree!


If you knew this tree could grow to 60′ in height and 25′ in width, would you have bought it and then planted it there? It’s a good guess you may not have even considered buying it!



We recommend that you know everything you can about the landscape plants you are interested in before you purchase them – including mature height and widths, sun and soil requirements, and disease and insect resistance. It will be well worth the effort to gather together helpful information like that.

You may not think of landscape plants being a home improvement, but they really are. Trees are a major outdoor home improvement. Naturally, the larger they are when purchased, the more costly they are. They can add value to your property as part of a thoughtful design, and, with proper care.

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