Care-free trees: nurturing a snowbell

Care-free trees: nurturing a snowbell

Caring for a Japanese snowbell tree can be simple and easy. It’s graceful and sturdy and can be grown in a variety of climates.

Snowbell

Hardy to Zones 5 to 9, the Japanese snowbell tree (Styrax japonica) is a graceful and elegant tree that requires very little care to bring it to its full, beautiful bloom. Here’s how to create a gorgeous masterpiece in your in your yard.

1. Start them while they’re young

The snowbell is fairly difficult to transplant when it’s older, so always pick out a young, small tree. Look for a snowbell with a soil ball that’s small with intact roots for the best chance of survival, and prepare a hole big enough to accommodate an organic mulch layer on top that’s about eight centimetres deep. This will help to protect it from evaporation.

2. Not too much or too little water

You won’t have to worry about watering too much, as the snowbell is pretty easygoing when it comes to soil moisture and fertility. They also need an average amount of light, so plant it in an area that gets neither all-day direct sunlight or shade. They grow about six to nine metres tall and will need the necessary space to branch out, so make sure not to overcrowd it. One of the best parts snowbell owners like is how well the tree resists insects and disease and can get by without pruning too often.

3. Ongoing maintenance

The first year is the most important in establishing the snowbell’s growth. This is the only time you should be watering it a bit more than usual. After the first year is over and it’s taken root, you can ease up on the watering and go on a lighter schedule.

Because you’ve taken the correct step of transplanting it in the spring, the first year should be up at that time, too. Just before spring starts to get warm, apply a general-purpose fertilizer around the base of the tree. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package, as each brand may differ slightly in its application.

4. Pruning

The snowbell is an incredibly graceful-looking tree and pruning it a bit will help keep it looking gorgeous. You don’t have to be a master gardener to do so as long as you’ve got pruning shears and a bit of time to plan things out.

Decide on the shape you want your tree to be in. Keeping the natural flow is usually the simplest and best way, but some snowbell owners may opt to give it a different shape. Whatever you choose, go with how the branches are naturally growing and don’t force things too much.

The only hard and fast rule you want to follow with pruning is to start with the lower branches and work in toward the trunk. This will help avoid making it look like an overgrown shrub. If you prune in early spring or late winter, you’ll give the snowbell the best chance of growing out according to how you want it to look.


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