As the autumn months approach, we are going to be getting into another one of those good windows for plantings trees, shrubs, and perennials. There are many concepts involved with landscape design, but one of the most important is choosing the right plant for the right location. Thinking of it in “human” terms, its kind of like having an employee that likes his or her job, and they then perform very well. Or on the other side, having an employee that hates there job and then becomes an issue for the rest of the staff. Plants work a lot like this, and when you choose a plant that enjoys its location, it will thrive, where as a plant that is unhappy will become weak and could contract disease or insect infestation. Here are some placement considerations.
Planting labels often indicate how much light a certain plant will need.
Full Sun= Receives direct sunlight all or most of the day (> 6 hours)
Partial Sun= Receives light or indirect light for some of the day (4-6 hours)
Shade= Receives little direct or no direct light
Plants that are placed in the wrong lighting conditions can become lengthy (too much shade) or become sun scorched (too much sun) if placed in the wrong areas.
Soil is a VERY important component to plant health. A happy root system will help the rest of the plant grow. The difficult aspect to soils is that they are hard to change. Our soils in Ohio were formed thousands of years ago and they vary from location to location. Using plants labeled as native to Ohio or the Midwest will often tolerate our soils better than some exotic plants. You may also consult your lawn care professional about having a soil test done to determine the texture and quality of your soil. This will help you to determine the best plants for that area.
When we go to a garden center it is often easy to choose plants without ever thinking about how big they will eventually get. Large trees are often planted to close to homes, or underneath power lines. Although they are not a problem right now, 10+ years down the road they could cause issues.
There are other considerations to think about such as water requirements, management costs, climate, wind exposure, and so on. One of the worst things you can do when choosing plants is to impulse buy. Take some time to sit down and draw out what you are envisioning. Look into plant guides that will give you some background on plants that may work well in your site. Happy Planning!
More Plant Care Information
The right planting conditions are only one way to make sure you get the most out of your plantings. Download our Plant Care Guide to learn other tips and tricks to get the most out of your plants!
Guest Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.