Site Selection for Landscape PlantingWith the arrival of spring comes the strong urge to renovate or add to the landscape in our yard.
Hot Springs, Ark. – With the arrival of spring comes the strong urge to renovate or add to the landscape in our yard. Time and attention are spent mostly on selection of the right plant or variety. Although important, we should remember that matching the site with the plant, and ensuring proper site preparation, will have a major impact on plant performance. Also, the amount of time we spend on maintenance will be affected by the preparation of the site prior to planting.
An initial step to planting would be to identify the sites targeted for planting. Next, make note of the site location and conditions such as:
1) Amount and timing of sunlight. For instance, note if the site is shady for the entire day or if it receives either morning or afternoon sun.
2) Soil type. Is the soil loose and well drained, or is it heavy clay that holds a lot of water.
3) Drainage pattern in the yard. Determine if the plant material would be in the middle of water flow during a rain or the recipient of water from your gutters.
4) Elevation. Is the site a low area that will tend to stay wet long after rainfall or is it a high area that will tend to dry out quickly.
5) Be sure the mature size of plant will fit the site. Placing a large shade tree close to the corner of a house or a shrub growing to 12 feet beneath a 4-foot window will be a problem in the long term.
6) Collect a soil sample and test it to determine nutrient needs and pH of your soil and make soil adjustments prior to planting.
Adequate irrigation after planting is the most critical factor in determining success. Water every plant immediately after planting. Unlike established plants, research clearly shows that recently transplanted plants establish faster with light, frequent irrigation. The actual amount of water will need to be adjusted based on the weekly precipitation. In Arkansas during the summer months, newly transplanted plants may require supplemental irrigation several times per week. The actual amount of water will depend on the type of soil and size of plant.
The use of mulches to prevent erosion and to reduce water loss is highly recommended. Somehow, the concept of mulching has gotten out of hand. Over the past 30 years there has been a shift from no mulch to “volcano” mulching. Mulching offers many advantage including reducing weeds, protecting the trunk from string trimmer damage, conserving soil moisture and adding organic matter to the soil. Research has shown a dramatic increase in tree growth when a small area above the root ball is maintained free of vegetation. The depth of organic mulch should not exceed 3 inches after settling. Never pile mulch against the trunk. Mulch resting on the trunk and applying too thick a layer may result in increased stem and root diseases, may harbor rodents that feed on the trunk and may reduce the oxygen required by roots.
If you can describe your site in terms of these and other pertinent facts, then you are ready to either select plants that match the site conditions or to modify the site to match the desired plant. In some cases we cannot modify certain factors, such as the amount of sunlight, and must do our best to select plant varieties that will meet our desire for color, size, etc., and still perform well.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
Master Gardener Information
Master Gardener meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge. They’re open to the public and guests are welcome. For more information call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Allen Bates at email@example.com.
There are several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities that are available for our youth, call Linda Bates at the Extension Office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC contact Jessica Vincent on 623-684 or 922-4703 or email her at email@example.com.
By Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension
office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
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