53February 22, 2012
I was walking the dog the other day.The warmer weather makes for a time to look around and observe what is going on around me. The birds appear to be singing their spring songs and the crocuses are pushing up their flower buds. I also see how people have landscaped their yards with trees and shrubs. Hey, you can take the man out of the garden center but you can’t take the garden center out of the man ! During the walk I noticed a row of arborvitaes trying to grow along the edge of a yard. I would guess that the plants had been in the yard for a couple of years. The plants had sparse growth. Some of the plants looked worse than the others. The garden center guys mind quickly noticed that there were branches of oaks and maples that were overhanging the area where the arborvitaes were trying to grow. The reason this is relevant is that arborvitaes need to grow in the sun. During the spring through the fall, the leaves on the trees will be shading the arborvitaes all day long. This shading is why the arborvitaes are not growing the way they should be growing.
If you are a gardener, you will know that some plants like to grow in the sun, some like to grow in shade and some plants like to grow in partial sun. When you select plants for your yard, you need to take the light requirements into consideration if you want your plants to thrive in their new home. When we get customers into the store that are looking to buy any type of plant, one of the first questions we ask them about is the amount of sunshine the plants will get in the area where the plant will grow. This applies to trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and even houseplants. You must always choose a plant based on its light requirements. So very often, people want a particular plant for a location that won’t get enough sun for the plant to survive. Ultimately, the plant will die. You may be able to move the plant to a new location, but in the case of the hedgerow of arborvitaes, the hedge needs to be in that particular area. Sure you can plant that hedge somewhere else on the property, but now you have to come up with a new solution as to what plant is the best plant for the area. The unfortunate thing is that once that row of arborvitaes dies, the property owner will probably replace them with more arborvitaes. They will figure that they planted the arborvitaes wrong or they may figure that they didn’t water the plants enough. The idea that the plants just won’t grow in those light conditions probably will never enter their mind.
Before you get into the planting mood this spring, take some time to observe when the sunshine hits the area where you want to plant. You will also need to figure out how many hours the sunshine will shine on that area. You should check to see if tree branches would create shade when leaves come out on the trees. Knowing how much sun will shine on a particular area in your yard will help you to determine what type of plant is suitable for that part of your yard.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.