What is better than a flowering shrub? Answer – a flowering tree. So says Michael McGroarty who has his own simple method for training a flowering shrub into a tree. Mike runs his own nursery so knows what he is talking about. His method involves using rooted cuttings as he explains in this article from Gardening Articles.com.
There is nothing more beautiful than a flowering shrub in full bloom, except maybe a flowering shrub in full bloom that has been trained to grow as a single stem tree. Imagine having a fragrant Viburnum Tree next to your patio or outside your bedroom window, waking up to such a wonderful aroma.
Don’t confuse what I am about to explain here with the common technique of grafting flowering shrubs on to the tall stem of some sort of rootstock. Grafting is very effective, but not so easy to do. This is much easier. Not only that, when you train the shrub to grow into a single stem tree, you can end up with some very interesting plants.
Training a flowering shrub to grow into a single stem tree is actually pretty simple. The younger the shrub you start with, the easier it is to train. I have a friend who grows thousands of Tree Hydrangeas a year, and this is how he trains them. The variety that he grows for this purpose is P.G. Hydrangea. (hydrangea paniculata grandiflora) This is the one with the huge white snowball blooms.
He starts with rooted cuttings and lines them out in the field about 30” apart. The first year he allows them to grow untouched as multi-stem shrubs. Being a fast growing shrub, they typically produce 3 to 4 branches that grow to a height of about 3 to 4’ that first season. The following spring he goes into the field, examines each plant and selects the one stem that is the straightest, and is likely to grow straight up from the roots if tied to a stake.