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Vermont Garden Journal: Viburnum

Melissa Carroll
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iStock
Viburnum is a shrub that, depending on the variety, can be a 3-foot shrub or a 20-foot tree. There are more than 150 varieties of viburnum and the plant is often used for hedges.

One native shrub that often gets overlooked is viburnum. There are more than 150 species of viburnums, ranging in size from a compact 3-foot shrub to a small tree. Most shrubs grow to be around 6- to 12-feet tall, making them great hedges and foundation plants.
Viburnums are winter hardy, adaptable shrubs and grow in full or part sun. The most popular types include the American and European Cranberry Bush and the Korean Spice and Judd Viburnums. Other types include the Blackhaw Viburnum which has black fruits and reddish-purple fall foliage, the Nannyberry Viburnum which can grow into a 20-foot tall tree and the Wild Raisin Viburnum which has berries in fall.

The biggest problem on viburnums is the viburnum leaf beetle. This is a relatively new pest and it attacks certain types, favoring the American and European Viburnums and Arrow Wood Viburnum. The larvae defoliate the shrub leaving just leaf skeletons. Although a healthy shrub will leaf out again, it can weaken the plant. The best control is to grow pest-resistant viburnums or prune off egg-infested leaf tips in late winter.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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