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How to Care for Deciduous Trees and Shrubs

One of the biggest questions we get asked here at the Garden Center is how to tackle year-round tree and shrub care, and—as luck would have it—we have the answers! This guide is here to help you care for your deciduous trees and shrubs, with some of our favorite tips and tricks to ensure your landscape remains lush and vibrant in every season. So, let's dig into it!



Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-Deciduous Tree & Shrub Care-japanese maple tree

Deciduous Trees and Shrubs for Pennsylvania

Deciduous trees play a vital role in Pennsylvania's landscapes, providing both ecological benefits and seasonal beauty. From the iconic Sugar Maple with its fiery fall foliage to the stately White Oak with its majestic canopy, these trees adorn parks, forests, and residential areas across the state. Pennsylvania's diverse climate and soil conditions support a rich variety of deciduous species, including native favorites like the Eastern Redbud and American Sycamore. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, deciduous trees also do a ton to improve our air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and overall environmental health, making them invaluable additions to landscapes in the Keystone State.


Understanding Common Diseases

Although homeowners in Allentown and the surrounding Lehigh Valley cultivate a variety of species suited to the region's climate and soil conditions, certain popular tree and shrub varieties are also susceptible to specific diseases and pests. Here's a closer look at some common locally-grown varieties and their associated problems:


  • Eastern Redbud: This Pennsylvania native is prized for its striking pink flowers in spring. However, it is also susceptible to Verticillium Wilt, a fungal disease that causes branch wilting and dieback. Thankfully, you can easily prevent the spread of this disease by simply following proper pruning and sanitation practices.


  • Japanese Maple: Loved for its delicate foliage and graceful form, the Japanese Maple is prone to issues like Powdery Mildew, a fungal infection that manifests as a white powdery coating on leaves. To prevent outbreaks, space your trees wide enough to ensure adequate air circulation and monitor them regularly for signs of infection.


  • Forsythia: This early-blooming shrub adds a burst of yellow color to your landscape in early spring but can also be susceptible to Anthracnose, a fungal disease that causes dark lesions on leaves and stems. Pruning infected branches with clean tools and promoting good air circulation can help manage this disease.



Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-Deciduous Tree & Shrub Care-hemlock and Eastern redbud trees

Battling Pest Concerns

As any seasoned gardener knows, pests can wreak havoc on the health of your trees and shrubs if left unchecked. In Pennsylvania, a variety of pests, including Fire Blight, aphids, and scale insects, pose significant threats to landscape greenery. Here are a couple of tree and shrub varieties that are particularly vulnerable to these infestations:


  • The American Beech: A Pennsylvania native deciduous tree, the American Beech boasts smooth gray bark and deep green foliage turning golden in autumn. Despite its beauty, it faces threats from diseases like beech bark disease, caused by a combination of insect and fungal pathogens, leading to bark cankers and dieback. Additionally, beech scale insects can infest trees, causing further damage. Vigilant monitoring and management are crucial to safeguard the health of American Beech trees in Pennsylvania's woodlands and landscapes.


  • Hemlock: Hemlock trees are prized for their dense foliage and graceful form. However, they are also susceptible to Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestations, a small insect that feeds on sap and can cause branch dieback and tree decline. Use insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils to control these pesky pests. 



gardener watering and pruning trees

Nurturing Healthy Landscapes

Creating and maintaining a healthy landscape requires more than just addressing individual issues; it entails adopting a holistic approach to care that encompasses soil health, plant selection, and environmental stewardship. Here are some key strategies to make a part of your regular Allentown tree care routine to ensure you nurture a healthy landscape this year:


Proactive Care Practices

Addressing potential issues before they escalate is a surefire way to maintain the health of your plants without the need for any major interventions. Here are a few simple proactive care practices to add to your normal maintenance routine:


  • Conduct regular inspections for signs of disease, pests, or structural issues.

  • Implement soil health management techniques as a part of your seasonal tree and shrub care schedule, such as soil testing and amendment to provide essential nutrients.

  • Water your trees and shrubs deeply and infrequently—especially during dry periods—to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.

  • Use organic mulch and fertilizers to provide your trees and shrubs with the nutrients they need and promote vigorous growth and resilience against pests and diseases.

  • Regularly prune your trees and shrubs to promote structural integrity, remove dead or diseased branches, and enhance airflow and sunlight penetration. If you're not sure how, check out these tree pruning tips or stop by the Garden Center for more expert advice!




Lehigh Valley- Garden Center-Allentown-Pennsylvania-Deciduous Tree & Shrub Care-sprinkler system for watering trees

Sustainable Approaches

Sustainable landscaping practices promote ecological resilience and reduce resource consumption. By embracing sustainability principles when choosing deciduous trees and shrubs for your garden, you can create a thriving landscape that also contributes to broader environmental goals. Here are a few simple practices to consider:


  • Choose native plant species adapted to your local climate and soil conditions to minimize water and maintenance requirements. Native plants will also have a higher tolerance to pest infestations.

  • Implement water conservation techniques such as drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and efficient watering schedules.

  • Create wildlife-friendly habitats using native plants, bird feeders, and nesting boxes to support biodiversity and ecological balance.


Proper tree and shrub care is essential for the health and longevity of your Lehigh Valley landscape, and we want to help you grow your best in every season! Come see us today for more expert care advice and the superior products you'll need to turn the garden of your dreams into a reality this season!


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