Need Information On Cotoneaster Bushes

Filed Under: Birds, Pruning, Watering · Keywords: Cotoneaster, Bushes, Size, Water, Soil, Pruning, Sun, Growth, Habit, Design, Problems, Diseases, Insects · 3890 Views
I live in Iowa, Zone 5. I've seen some Cottoneaster bushes and may want them in my yard. They would be in full sun. My questions are: can I plant a few trees around them? How hardy are they in the very cold winters? Do they stay green during the winter in snow and ice? Do they need pruning - ever? I don't want a bush that might spread under ground to other places in my yard, like some vines will. Does this do that or trail other places? Is it only pretty and full on the side that trails over on the ground? I need it to be pretty and full also around the original bush stems because they would be seen from our road driving by our home. Do birds like them? Are they a messy bush in any way? The spot I would like them is about 40 ft or more long. About how many would I plant, and how far apart? Are they slow or fast growing? I would like them to be full in about 3 years, if possible. Can they be trimmed back if they grow farther than I want them, or would that look strange? Please tell me the pros and cons about the bush. Are there different types of Cottoneasters? Do they need a lot of watering? Any fertilizer? Thanks for any help you can be.


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Answer #2 · Gardenality.com's Answer · I really like Cotoneaster....especially as a groundcover/shrub on embankments or as a natural low border or hedge. But here in mid-Georgia they don't do so well because of the long periods of high heat and humidity that can cause fire blight. Many but not all plants in the Rosaceae family, such as apple trees and cotoneaster, are susceptible, especially when there is heat and humidity. Not sure how susceptible cotoneaster is in Iowa. I would consult with a local nursery or professional landscaper about it. If the plants do get fire blight, and the disease is caught early, effected branches can be pruned out. If steps aren't take. To prevent the spread of the disease plants can be killed by it.

Brent)


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Linda Bonar

Linda Bonar · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi Brent - Thank you for taking the time to help me . What is "Rosaceae family"? I've never heard of it. Is it the fire blight you mentioned?

6 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
You're very welcome, Linda. "Rosaceae" refers to the "family" of plants that Cotoneaster (a Genus of plants) are in. Then, within the Rosaceae family there are Genus, such as "Malus," which are apple trees, "Chaenomeles," which are quince, and "Rosa," which are roses. This means all these different types of plants and trees are in the same family...kind of like cousins. Some of the plants in the Rosaceae family, especially apple trees and sometimes Cotoneaster, are susceptible or prone to fire blight, which is a contagious bacterial disease that causes the ends of branches and the leaves on them to blacken and die. If these affected branches are not removed the entire plant or tree can die.

6 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Linda-There are several species of the Cotoneaster plant. These species vary in height and width. Some will make a groundcover from 6 inches to 2 or 3 feet and others are shrubs from 3 to 15 feet in height. Some varieties are evergreen and some are semi evergreen, lose some leaves in cooler climates, and some are deciduous, lose leaves in winter. Are you looking to use these plants separatly as a shrub around the landscape, low growing more of a groundcover, or as a solid hedge? It sounds as if you are going to use them more of a ground cover than a bush. Do You have a height and width requirement? Will these plants be planted under the trees you want to plant and will these trees be shading them at times of the day? I noted below a link to some of the different species of cotoneaster. Just click on the link to go directly to cotoneasters plant files. There you will find pictures and characteristics of the varying varieties.

The Tom Thumb Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster salicifolius 'Tom Thumb') grows 1-2 feet in height and 6-8 feet in width. It is evergreen with pink flowers.

Cranberry Cotoneaster - (Cotoneaster apiculatus 'Cranberry') is another species that makes a nice groundcover This plant is deciduous, loses its leaves in the winter.

Cotoneaster dammeri Rockspray Cotoneaster-This cotoneaster is a a small evergreen shrub with beautiful pink flowers in spring and bright red berries in summer. It comes in both low-growing varieties that spread horizontally and shrub forms. The evergreen leaves take on a purple tinge in winter.

These low growing cotoneaster are cold hardy to zone 5a. The Tom Thumb is hardy down to zone 4.

The plants do not spread by underground roots. They are only considered invasive in some areas as the birds can disperse the seeds in open or wild areas of land.

Most cotoneasters will grow in full sun in your location, but will grow in partial or filtered sun also.

The berries in fall and winter are not only attractive to humans, but are eaten by many varieties of birds.

All Cotoneaster require little to no pruning, but like many plants can outgrow their bounds. If they overgrow their space they can easily be pruned. They can be cut back hard if need be without any fear of injury and will regrow and fill in quickly.

As young newly planted shrubs they will need to be kept moist not wet for their first growing season. Once the plants become establish they will have low water needs. The cotoneaster plants are considered drougnt tolerant.

http://www.gardenality.com/Search/#Tab=Plants&PageIndex=1&PageSize=10&PlantSearch=null&SortBy=undefined&SearchText=cotoneaster

You may check with your better nurseries or garden centers to see what varieties are available and ones they feel may be more hardy in your location.

Hope this has helped.

John)


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Linda Bonar

Linda Bonar · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Very good answer! Thank you :-)

6 years ago ·
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Answer #3 · Linda Bonar's Answer · John thank you for all of this info. To answer your questions, They would be in full sun, unless we plant some new trees in that area too. Could sun be too much for them? What is best, part sun, all sun, or part shade? They would probably have shade between 7:00 A.M. to about 10-11:00 A.M. as the sun moves West over our house. I would like bright dark green shiny leaves, bright red berries, and to have them also in the winter. Our front yard sort of goes up a slow incline to the road above it. I'd like to stay away from the road a couple of feet and then plant a row of them as a ground cover, not bushes. 30-40 ft long. Maybe a couple feet high and then cascade down the incline maybe 8-10 ft. Can they be trained to only go down the incline and NOT up the other direction toward the road? I don't want the road side to only show the stems. We had a couple of huge pine trees in this area that got diseased and we had to cut them down in the last two years. So, all there is right now is one new red maple tree we planted a couple of years ago - over to one side. I really would like at least one large shade tree in that area to shade some of my flowers across the driveway of this area. Of course shade trees take a long time to get good growth/height on them, enough to give shade. Would you suggest any good ones that are not messy or hard to grow, who like full sun? Last night I did some searching on Cotoneasters and it was mentioned that their roots go very deep and spread. Is there any chance they are strong enough to go through tiles for sewer, water, etc, if they are planted too close? I did see a photo last night of some planted in a large oval that surrounded other taller plants that filled in the center of the oval. That was really nice and we do have the space, if that would look prettier than putting them all in a row down the incline with other plants below. Are there any plants that you know of that would not be compatible with Cotoneaster groundcover? And I wouldn't want the Cotoneaster to grow into the other flowers but only stand up maybe 3 ft and then cascade over to the outside of the oval. This is quite a project to make decisions for, but it is fun :-))


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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
In your zone the cotoneaster should be fine in full sun. Like many plants in the summer months any small amount of shade is usually appreciated. To fill your incline I would plant them in the middle of the area you want to fill. Far enough away from the top of the incline so your not pruning into the middle of the plant to keep it clear of the roadside. This way as they grow up and down the incline half the plant will not be growing into the roadway. The only pruning at the top of the incline or roadway will be very little and most likely will not look woody because of this small amount of pruning. Many plants would look nice with the cotoneaster. Drift roses, Dwarf Burning Bush, or Dwarf Fothergilla are just a few that would be nice and colorful. Once you decide on the cotoneaster you would like it is just a matter of planting each plant far enough apart so they aren't growing into each other. Any plant planted to close to an object will have a tendency to grow into it.
As far as the root system I haven't grown cotoneaster myself, but have found no problems associated with irrigation or drainage pipe. Of course any plant will take advantage of the water comming froma broken pipe. I don't believe there should be any problems hear.
As far as a good shade tree for your area I would check with your better nurseries and garden centers and get their opinion. Not aquainted with your area or zone I wouldn't want to give you a list of trees that may not be what you are looking for. Possibly another maple variety or check around and see what nice street trees are being used in the area. Normally cities will use trees that are easily maintained, not invasive, or messy other than dropping leaves.

6 years ago ·
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Linda Bonar

Linda Bonar · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks again for the great info! You are a HUGE help :-)

6 years ago ·
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Linda Bonar

Linda Bonar · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
John - does this shrub have thorn like sticky things on them? If so, are there any of the varieties that do not have them?

6 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
The cotoneaster has no thorns as other plants do in the Rosaceae family such as the Pyracanthas. Thats another reason they are popular. The same nice foliage with colorful berries and no thorns to deal with when working around them.

6 years ago ·
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Linda Bonar

Linda Bonar · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks so much. If they did, I couldn't have them :-)

6 years ago ·
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