What is a good Planting?
The key to lasting landscape beauty lies in choosing
the right plant& We've told you how to place plants
to get a pleasant home grounds. Now your, final step
is to decide on the plant varieties to use.
Just any old plant won't do: Each one must be suitable
to your climate and to` the amount of :sun and 'shade
it will get. It should harmonize with the other plants
you use and with the architecture of your house. And,
of course, it should be easy to maintain, so you
won't be spending all your time taking care of plants.
A good planting grows in beauty over the years; a
poor one soon becomes an eyesore. This article tells
you the things to keep in mind when you make out your
Check each plant on your landscape plan against these
- Will it grow in your soil?
- Does it need full sun, partial shade, or full shade?
- Can it stand the highest and lowest temperatures
in your area?
- Will it suffer from strong winds?
- Can it get along with the moisture conditions
where you want to plant it?
- Is the foliage attractive all season?
- Will foliage and flower colors harmonize "
with surrounding, plants and buildings?
- Does the plant's form fit the location?
- Is it suscepcible to insects and disease?
- Is it easy to maintain?
- Does it have a reasonably Iong life expectancy?:
- Does it produce an undue litter each season?
Plants must be adapted to your soil and climate
Soil conditions come first. No plant will grow in pure
clay or pure sand. You can improve any soil by
mixing in peatmoss, compost, or other organic matter
which will loosen heavy clay soils and make light, sandy
ones better able to retain moisture. You can find plants
which have a definite liking for any given kind of soil,
but most plants are fairly adaptable.
Acidity or alkalinity of soil is a problem in many areas.
Some plants, like rhododendrons and azaleas, definitely
demand acid soil. Others like it on the alkaline side.
Fortunately, most plants don't care whether soil is
mildly acid or alkaline. Even so, a soil test is a good
Light and shade are deciding factors in placing most
plants. Plants will often grow .where light conditions
aren't ideal, but they won't do their best. Many nursery
catalogs are very helpful by stating which plants like
shade, which need lots of sun.
Temperatures are the most important climate condition.
Some plants are killed by a frost; others will live
through winters when readings get down to 30 degrees
or more below zero. Buy plants that you know grow in
Moisture, botih in the soil and air, has a profound
effect on plant growth. Some plants need lots of moisture;
others thrive even during d-routh. Even on the
same lot you may find big differences in amounts of
moisture. Slopes dry out fast; low spots may be wet.
Moisture in the air can cause mildew and other fungus
diseases in plants; Avoid plants susceptible to mildew
if your area is humid.
Wind can be a serious problem, especially in areas plagued
by constant winds. They not only buffet the plant, but
dry winds also take moisture from leaf and stem. Many
plants are killed in winter by drying winds, although
cold temperatures usually get the blame.
Use plants that fit your design needs
Foliage color is the first thing to look for. Avoid
brown greens which tend to look dingy and dirty, and
yellow-greens which give the plant a sickly appearance.
Don't rush to buy plants with purple, red, or other
unusual-colored foliage. Such plants can be used occasionally
for accent, but it takes skill to use them right.
Plant texture refers to its over-all appearance, whether
it is light and airy in appearance or heavy looking.
Hydrangeas are excellent examples of coarse plants.
The lacy, delicate tamarix is a fine plant. Where you
use both fine and coarse plants in the same, planting,
make a gradual transition from one to the other by planting
medium-textured plants between.
Mental associations with, some plants should be' taken
into consideration. For instance, tropical plants look
good with certain Modern buildings, but seern misplaced
about Colonial-type homes. Likewise, birch trees, being
children of the North, never look at home in the South.
Other points to keep in mind
Unless you like to work around the yard just for the
sake of working, you should select plants that need
little care. Of course, all shrubs require some feeding
and pruning, but others demand attention all the time.
Avoid those known to be subject to plant disease and
insects. Stay away from plants of rampant growth, and
those which need heavy y feeding. And don't plant those
that drop a litter, of seeds, fruit, or ouf-of-season
Don't let your enthusiasm run away, from you and make
you try to plant one of everything., Repetition is important
in any kind of design work, and repeating certain key
plants and masses of plants' will help immensely
in giving you a unified whole.
Your tools in selecting plant materials are few. Nursery
catalogs will supply much of the information you need
about any plant. Your local nurseryman can be very helpful,
because the plants he sells are types that grow in your
area. You should also look at other yards in your neighborhood
to find those that look good, grow well, and fit into
the kind of spot you have.
Choosing the right plants isn't as difficult as it
sounds. Even so, take time to do a careful job. After
all, a good planting will give you satisfaction for.
years; a poor one will be a disappointment from the
Plant for winter interest
Chosen wisely, your planting combinations can make
your garden a colorful, interesting winter picture.
Here is an easy-to-follow outline of the special
attractions you can have. Needle-leaved evergreens impart
warmth and stability, and their distinctive habit, texture,
and colors bring an interest obtainable in no other
way. For greatest distinction, consider hemlocks, fine
textured and graceful; yews, richest of greens; Pfitzer
junipers, best knee-high spreading junipers and the
dwarf spreading junipers-Andorra, blue green, and Waukegan,
Broad-leaved evergreens, of questionable hardiness
in many parts of the country, pose a real challenge.
A single plant can inject more cheer into a landscape
than dozens of easier-to-grow plants.
Try, at least, bigleaf wintercreeper, equally good
as groundcover, wall climber, or scrambling dwarf shrub.
The glossy evergreen leaves, like those of rhododendrons,
serve as thermometers, expanding in hot weather, curling
tightly to cigar shape in cold.
Christmas-roses (Helleborus), rescmbling giant white
buttercups, frequently' do well, as do myrtle, pachysandra,
and Baltic ivy.
Semi-evergreens do much to ease the transition
from autumn to winter. Leaves of Menfor barberry,
Burkwood viburnum, carpet bugle, and winter honeysuckle
remain presentable long after cold weather arrives.
Persistent brown foliage is surprisingly interesting.
Hornbeams, beeches, and many oaks provide a satisfying
warmth in tans; browns, and russets, blending well with
the winter tones of evergreens and the- bright twig
and fruit colors of many deciduous shrubs.
Berried plants add the finishing touches to winter
combinations, enhancing the beauty of evergreens and
benefiting from the rich background they provide. For
red fruits, grow the showy Scarlet Winterberry, Washington
or Cockspur thorn; for frosty winered, Sargent
and the lustrous dark Zumi 'crabapples. Also try Oriental
photinia, smooth sumac, the brilliant, Chinese-red hips
of Japanese roses, and the huge, translucent scarlet
berries of the cranberry bush.
Selection among other fruit colors is limited
For pink, try green-stemmed Winterberry euonymus.
For orange, Oriental bittersweet, a sprawling vine,
and Sea buckthorn, tall and shrubby, are best.
Garden snowberries, nearest approach to long-lasting
white fruits, remain decorative until softened and browned
by hard freezes. More permanent are the gray bayberries.
Bright winter twig color provides winter's most cheerful
effect - lemon-yellow dogwood, golden weeping willow,
dark red Bailey dogwood, and green-stemmed kerria. Equally
pretty are the twigs of silvery gray beech and Chinese
elms, polished brown cotoneasters, and frosty reddish
Decorative bark comes into added prominence during
winter months. For shaggy bark, grow the flaky, orange-brown
river birch or paperbark maple, shagbark hickory, or
mottled sycamore. Paper and gray birch, white poplar,
quaking aspen, hornbeam and European beech have
tight-fitting bark, gray, almost white.
Trees lack a cow's ability to move to greener pastures
down the street when hungry. The mineral requirements
of trees are few, but trees must have these minerals
for normal health.
First choice of is a 10-8-6 plant food, that is, one
which contains 10 percent nitrogen, 8 percent phosphorus,
and 6 percent potash. If the 10-8-6 grade is not
available in your town, get the grade nearest like
it. Trees are normally fed before June 10 because practically
all of the growth for the year is made within six weeks
after the leaves start to appear.
But if you forgot to feed your trees in the spring,
you can do it profitably in September or October.
Tree roots below the frost line in the soil remain active
Years of research have led created a special formula
for deciding how much plant food a tree needs each year:
Add height and width of tree (in feet) to the circumference
of the trunk (in inches). Example: A tree 60 feet high,
40 feet wide, 100-inch trunk circumference, should receive
60 plus 40 plus 100, or 200 pounds of 10-8-6 plant food.
To get plant food down near the roots, you can use a
crowbar to punch 18-inch-deep holes into the lawn. Confine
the holes to a concentric ring 30 inches wide just at
the end of the branches. Individual holes can be 2 feet
apart. Each hole gets 1 1/2 pounds of plant food, plus
enough soil to fill it
When pin oaks suffer from any upset in their diet,
they produce yellowish-white leaves instead of the usual
deep green. In sufficient soluble iron in the soil is
the usual trouble. If the soil is alkaline, apply 3
pounds of a mixture of equal parts of ferrous sulfate,
aluminum sulfate, ammonium sulfate, and a finely ground
sulfur for each inch of tree diameter. This treatment
will make the soil acid and the iron soluble. Lawn trees
often are deep-rooted enough to get water long after
shallow-rooted crops die of thirst, but street trees
need extra water.
Mechanical injury. Cuts made in pruning provide easy
avenues of entrance for disease spores to start their
deadly work. But in the past, too much faith has been
put in slapping on a coat of ordinary paint, shellac,
or tar paint. Shellac is no better than leaving the
cut exposed, and most paints and roofing tars injure
the living tissue at the: edge of cut.
Repairing old cavities needs the expert. Elastic cement,
often called composition filler, is sold under a variety
of names and is one type of filling material. For large
cavities, especially near tree bases; concrete
is better. Because it doesn't expand at the same rate
as the tree would, it's more difficult to make a perfect