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We Lost A Large Bradford Pear During The Ice Storm…

S.J. Asked

We lost a large Bradford pear during the ice storm and now we want to plant some fast-growing shrubs in the same area. They can be blooming or not blooming, but we do want to be able to plant them in the next few days. None of the local nurseries have forsythia (our first thought) and we don’t know what else would be good. Can you suggest several shrubs we might be able to find in Lexington?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, S.J.: This past winter’s ice storm damaged hundreds of trees, but it does not surprise me that your Bradford pear was one of them. They are beautiful while they are in bloom, but they structurally are not considered strong trees. So think of this as an opportunity to plant something more desirable and durable. Not knowing your specific requirements, I am guessing that anything that has the same growing requirements and characteristics of forsythia would be an option. The following are suggestions for a sun-loving shrubs that do not have restrictions in terms of height and width and can be deciduous. Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) is a deciduous shrub that produces red berries during the winter months. Witch hazel (Hamamelis) are also deciduous blooming shrubs. Many of the viburnums would work for your space, as well as abelia, caryopteris, and various hydrangeas that will take more sun than others, such as ‘Limelight’ or ‘Annabelle.’ You might even consider using ornamental grass. Since you want to plant in the next day or so, you are limited to what your local garden centers/nurseries have in their stores, but I hope this gives you some options to consider. If you can find and purchase larger plants it will give you instant gratification.

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