Spring is on its way. No really, it will soon be here. Until then I’ll survey my yard from a warm vantage point. My favorite survey spot is my living room window. From there at this time of year, I can see trees and shrubs which are my “plantation foundation”.
I don’t really have a plantation, but the view from inside your home is one aspect to consider when planning your landscape needs. Early spring is the best time to assess any changes you want to make in the foundation of your plantation.
Healthy landscapes and gardens start with healthy foundation plants. It is impossible to tell a tree or shrub to stick out its tongue and say, “Ahhhh”, but we can do the next best thing. We can practice preventive medicine by putting a suitable plant in a proper location.
The first piece to this puzzle is deciding what kind of changes you want to make. Would more shade be a plus? Perhaps obstructing an undesirable view is on your wish list. Or maybe you just want a change of scenery.
Whether choosing a tree or shrub to fulfill your landscape needs, you need to evaluate the planting site. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Will the existing structures (home, garage, patio, driveway, etc.) affect the placement of my new tree or shrub?
Structures can block sunlight, rainfall, drainage or root growth. Fallen leaves, flower blossom petals, keys (seeds), fruit or nuts on driveways or sidewalks can be hazardous.
2. Is the area large enough to accommodate the type of plant at maturity that you have in mind?
Check for underground pipes and underground and overhead utility cables that could interfere with tree canopy or root spread.
Buying a tree or shrub is a long term investment of both time and money. Select a tree or shrub that fits your budget now and in the future. Make your selection based on cost, ease of care, insect and disease resistance, and light and water requirements. Trees need specialized handling when planted and extra care for several years thereafter until properly established. Shrubs need a seasonal cycle of care – pruning, fertilizing watering- to insure good health.
Take all those things into consideration from a warm safe place inside before making changes. You will be glad you did.