My greatest fears of summer have been realized – heat and its obnoxious, wears-out-his-welcome cousin, humidity. Technically, it’s not even summer yet, so my concern is valid. Could the polar vortex we experienced this Winter spin-off some sort of evil, twisted, oppressive, sweat drenching, solar vortex? Something tells me it’s going to be a long, long, summer, and the folks at Com Ed couldn’t be more tickled. As I write this, we are in desperate need of rain. It seems the last few threats were just that…threats. Thus far, nothing has materialized, and we really need it to.

Because of the harsh winter and copious amount of snow, you may have noticed shrubs, near walkways and drives are looking less than healthy.

Evergreens almost appear to be burnt, and truth be told, they kind of are. They’ve been damaged by salt, essentially scorched. Deciduous shrubs do not leaf out or bud properly when damaged by salt, and unfortunately, there’s no remedy, only preventative measures. Consider replacing your salt damaged shrubs with the salt-tolerant options below:

  Lil’ Kim Hibiscus/Rose of Sharon

A unique, dwarf variety, Lil’ Kim has dainty white flowers punctuated with a showy red eye amongst dark green, thick foliage that acts as a perfect backdrop to the multitude of stunning blooms that flower Summer through Fall.  Grows 3-4′ tall and 3-4′ wide.

  American Cranberrybush Viburnum

Upright habit with flat-topped clusters of white flowers that bloom in Spring.  Bright red clusters of berries emerge shortly after flowers and remain into late Winter, providing interest and food for critters and birds.  Foliage has a slight reddish tinge which deepens to a reddish-purple by Fall.  Grows 8-12′ tall and 6-8 wide.

  Happy Face Potentilla

As its name would indicate, Happy Face produces an abundance of big, sunny yellow flowers from Spring until late Summer, flanked by dense, dark green foliage. Grows 2-3′ tall and 2-3′ wide.

  Endless Summer Twist & Shout Hydrangea

Stunning pink or periwinkle lace cap flowers bloom atop sturdy, red stems, flanked by deep green foliage from early Summer through Fall.  Twist & Shout is a reliable performer and true re-bloomer.  Provides great Fall color too.  Grows 3-4′ tall and 3-4′ wide.

  Red Chokeberry

Clusters of small, white flowers emerge in mid-Spring, followed by small, bright red fruit in late Summer and Fall.  Dark green foliage turns a reddish-purple in Fall.  Has an upright spreading habit.  Grows 6-8′ tall and 4-6′ wide.

  Dwarf Mugo Pine

Dense, compact form that is low growing produces dark green, stiff needles that are 2-3″ long.  Very tolerant and versatile.  Grows 18-24″ tall and 18-24″ wide.

Salt is one of Winter’s necessary evils, and only now are we starting to see its effects on nearby turf and shrubs.  There really isn’t anything you can do to save the shrubs, but you can certainly choose salt-tolerant varieties in an attempt to be proactive as preventative measures are the best way to combat salt and its subsequent harmful effects.

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

-John Steinbeck

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney