Helpful tips on how to grow and maintain the bottle brush tree
One look at the bottle brush plant and you know exactly where it gets its name: the spikes of flowers blooming at the ends of their stems, which closely resemble a bottle brush. Whether in shrub-form or as small trees that grow to heights of 15 feet, most varieties of bottle brush produce red or crimson blooms all summer long, making them a vibrant addition to the landscape. The bottle brush tree needs a very mild climate, and new plants need rich, peaty soil with good drainage. Aggressive pruning each year yields smaller plants, while more careful, delicate pruning encourages the tree is growing larger.
Sun and soil
The bottle brush tree craves sunlight, so they are best planted in areas with a great deal of sun exposure. Though they fare well in most types of soil, above all, they require sufficient drainage in the soil. For areas where soil is very poor in quality, enriching it with compost at planting time helps establish the tree and encourages its healthy growth.
Established bottle brush trees are extremely tolerant of drought and exposure to moderate amounts of salt spray, making them ideal for coastal areas. When young, the bottle brush tree needs weekly watering during a period without rain. For deep saturation that reaches the roots, the area is best watered slowly. Adding a layer of mulch over the root area slows the evaporation of water and aids in the prevention of weeds. For best results, spread a layer two inches thick of shredded hardwood or tree bark or a layer three to four inches thick of lighter-weight mulch such as shredded leaves, pine straw or hay.
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Facts in fertilizer
It is important that the first fertilization of the bottle brush tree is always applied during their second spring after planting. While some trees need the use of chemical fertilizers to maximize their nutrient supply, the bottle brush tree receives a great deal of its requirements through the breakdown of compost. Spread compost in a layer two inches thick to the root area to best ensure that the nutrient supply is rich enough. If using a chemical fertilizer, follow the instructions on the label of the product, and avoid the use of formulations with too much nitrogen. An over-abundance of this nutrient risks the development of flowers, even as it encourages the growth of foliage.
Pruned to perfection
Ideal for landscapes requiring minimal maintenance, the bottle brush tree needs only a minimal amount of pruning. With pruning, the plant itself can either be trained for growth as a small tree with a single trunk or left to its own devices as a shrub with several trunks. If grown as a tree, drooping lower branches may sometimes need cutting back so that there is ample clearance under the tree for easy passage. Suckers produced by the bottle brush tree need removal as soon as possible to encourage proper growth.
When pruning the bottle brush tree for health, do so when flowers fade, as this helps ensure that future blooms are not damaged. Pruning is best kept minimal, only a couple of inches below the tips. Pruning in early spring before the formation of flowers or after flowering is complete in late summer is generally advised.
Bottle Brush Care and Maintenance
As outdoor experts, the team at Executive Landscaping, Inc. has years of knowledge in caring for the bottle brush tree and knowing how to best incorporate them into a landscape design. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work, and our clients rely on our abilities in bringing their vision to life. Creating a unique design that showcases their property is always our top priority, and that standard of excellence is the secret of our success.
Call Executive Landscaping, Inc. to learn more about bottle brush tree care and maintenance and the range of outdoor services we offer today!
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