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Guidelines for Plant Selection

The following information is a step-by-step method to assist a person in selecting the most appropriate native plants for a project. It is intended to simplify the selection by narrowing down the list of plants that fit your chosen needs and the restrictions of the site. It is a simplified approach and does not include every factor that should be considered but attempts to cover the most important ones. It is highly recommended that you review and complete each step.

Step 1 Define your goals. Decide on a budget (rounded to nearest $100). 
Step 2 Do you have a sketched layout of the overall site (to scale)?
Step 3 Check site conditions for each planting area. This is critical for success.
Use the tree and shrub list to draft a plant list that closely matches
your goals and site conditions.
Step 4 Complete a layout for each planting site.
Write up a list by: species, size, location, quantities needed that fits the budget.
Send it to us for a quotation on price and availability.

Step 1 : What are you trying to accomplish?

  • A landscape in plant beds using trees and shrubs with annuals/perennials in limited space.
    This goal requires careful consideration to plant selection and layout. The level of annual maintenance will be higher. Additional information to what is provided in our catalog will be needed.

 

  • A naturalized landscape using trees and shrubs as specimens or small to large groups in an open/unlimited space setting. This goal requires plenty of open space. Maintenance will be lower.
    Information provided in our catalog and website should be adequate.

 

  • Shade and/or a windbreak for comfort and privacy.
    This goal is intended to focus on large shade trees as specimens, windbreaks or hedges with a few small to medium specimen trees along a border. For the purpose of these guidelines consider the layout of a single shade tree as a planting area.
    Layout of a windbreak is usually linear. When planting multiple rows; stagger each row to provide adequate space for each plant to mature but still get the effect of a privacy/windbreak.
    Consider other evergreens (not listed in this catalog) such as spruce, fir, holly, arborvitae and false-cypress.

 

Step 2 : Do you have a sketched layout of the overall site (to scale)?

  • If a survey plat is available, get a few copies and most of your work is done.

 

  • If a survey plat is not available, then your sketch should at least show the following:
    A north arrow, Proposed planting areas (with length and width in feet), the location of buildings, roads and utilities.

 

Step 3 : Identify each planting site. Check site conditions for each planting area Note the following for each planting site. This is extremely important.

  • Available soil moisture during growing season:
    If site tends to be average to dry from spring to summer and soil drainage is good during most moisture conditions then use Tree/shrubs identified for average to dry sites in Water/Wetland Status of the tree/shrub list.
    If site tends to be average to wet from spring to summer and soil drainage is slow during most moisture conditions then use Tree/shrub identified for average, moist or saturated sites in Water/Wetland Status of the tree/shrub list.

 

  • Available sunlight
    If site gets full sun all day then try to choose plants that prefer full sun or full sun to partial shade.
    Avoid plants that prefer partial shade to full shade.If site gets sun in AM and shade in PM then choose plants from any light preference.
    Note: Full sun species will not be as full or flower as well if in partial or full shade.
    If site gets shade in AM and full sun in PM then try to avoid plants listed as partial shade to full shade.

 

  • Soil Compaction
    Dig at least one (1) hole per 10,000 square feet of planting area that is one (1) foot deep.
    Is there topsoil? Is it easy to dig or ‘hard as a rock’ (without rocks being present)?
    If it is ‘hard as a rock’ with little or no topsoil then your choices are limited until you fix the problem.
    If there is topsoil (3-6”) and it is easy to dig then your choices will be controlled primarily by available soil moisture, sunlight, and space considerations.

 

If your goal in Step 1 was:

A more formal landscape in plant beds with annuals/perennials in a restricted space setting, then focus your choices on small/medium trees and shrubs that can function as specimens, showy specimens or small groups.
Limit your selection of large shade trees.

If your goal in Step 1 was:

An informal naturalized landscape using specimens and small to large groups in an open/unlimited space, then focus your choices on medium/large trees and shrubs that can function as shade trees, specimens, small/large groups, hedge or windbreak. Wildlife value should factor more in small/large group selections.

Step 4 : Complete a layout – decide on species, locations, quantities needed and write up your list

Do this at the planting sites. Use flags and marking paint to layout plants and verify quantities.
Become more familiar with each species you select and send your list to us for a quotation on price and availability.

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