If you have a central air conditioner, then you probably know that leaves, clipped grass, and other debris can easily work their way into the grates of the AC system and clog it up. This can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the system and lead to an increase in HVAC maintenance calls to a company like Shakley Mechanical Inc. However, if you find that your AC condenser is quite ugly and sticks out like a sore thumb, then you may want to hide it as best you can. The easiest way to do this is to add some carefully placed plants. If you want to pick the right plants to hide the AC unit without causing a maintenance issue, then choose some shrubs. Keep reading to learn how to choose the right ones and to take care of them properly.
Choosing Your Shrubs
Shrubs may be your best option to hide your air conditioning unit, since they are broad, bulky, and thick. If you want to add some bushes, then you will need to make sure they do not impede airflow to the AC unit. Keeping the shrubs about two or three feet away will help with this. This means you need to figure out the mature size of the shrub first. This will allow you to find a shrub that fits the space around the air conditioner without coming too close to it. Many types of shrubs will grow between three and eight feet wide. However, other bushes can extend outward 10 to 15 feet. These wide bushes should be avoided. Chinese eleagnus, flowering pomegranate, ligustrum, and viburnum are a few examples of wide shrubs that you should not choose. These plant varieties are also fast growing which means you will need to prune them constantly.
You should instead opt for thinner shrubs that grow slower. A few examples of these shrubs include common juniper, sylvesia juniper, nandina, and barberry varieties. If you choose one of these shrubs, then look at the mature width and plant the shrub accordingly. For example, if you pick a common juniper shrub, then it is likely to grow to be six feet wide. Three feet of the shrub will grow on either side of the bush. This means that the shrub will need to be planted about five feet from the AC unit so there will be about two feet of space between the shrub and the air conditioner once the bush grows to its mature size.
Caring For The Plants
Your shrubs will be a great addition to your yard as long as they do not force dead branches and leaves into the AC compressor. This will happen if you allow your shrubs to die or grow poorly. This means that you need to care for your shrubs properly. Shrubs typically do not require a great deal of extra effort. In fact, if you try too hard to take care of your shrubs, then you may actually kill them. This includes bogging the roots down with too much water. Most shrubs only need to be watered for the first few years while their roots are still forming. They will typically only need about an inch of water a week though. You should add some mulch around the base of each shrub though, to keep water in the soil and to also prevent weeds from encroaching on the bushes.
Also, shrubs do not need much, if any, fertilizer. If you do decide to fertilize, then do so when the shrubs are initially planted. This can help the shrubs to build stronger root structures. However, fertilizing too much and too often can actually burn the roots and stunt growth. To avoid this, mix a few cups of fertilizer with your topsoil when you first plant the bushes. Do not add fertilizer again unless the shrubs are showing signs of nutrient deficiency.