Give yourself time to "grow" into your landscape

Don't be tempted to go for "instant landscaping." That's the message in this comment from a reader and the response to him from my wife, Cheryl:
COMMENT: "3 years ago we moved to a new house on a 25 acre lot. I am sure it will take us years to figure out what we are going to do with it all. However, 2 years ago we planted our first plants. My neighbor mocked me and said, "Nice sticks," and would yell over the fence..."Gee... I think your trees are growing!" and then laugh. Having lived on a much smaller lot, the thought of planting "sticks" would have never occurred to us. But with so much area to cover, we thought..."what the heck, let's try it" so I ignored her remarks.
Now, two years later, my weeping willows are taller than me and my Carolina Spice bushes and Burning Bushes are growing beautifully. So now I wonder, why did I ever spend $30 on a plant that I could grow myself in 2 years for $5 each! I used to be all about instant gratification - but now find the gratification is quadrupled when you watch it grow from a seedling!" - Paul W.
ANSWER: Thank you so much for your note. Only a small portion of homeowners have the financial ability to install instant landscaping and, chances are, they have a knowledgeable person who regularly cares for those plants. Not all of us have nor want that advantage.
My thoughts are that a landscape should take years to grow into itself. Just as you and your family are new to your home and property, you should take the time (be that several years) to live on the property and see how its uses develop. Hasty planting only to get something in the ground often leads to a change of mind a couple of years later. The different ways you and your family will use your property will reveal themselves over time. I always encourage people to take that time to find out. - Cheryl Jones
Your comments and questions are always welcome. Drop an e-mail to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and I'll do my best to get a personal response back to you. I often include some of those Q&As in this column.
QUESTION: "I have just purchased some Rosa Hansen Hedge Roses. I am interested in using these hedge roses to conceal an existing chain link fence. The site directions state to plant 12" - 24" apart but my question is how far from an existing fence? Can you help?" - Maura
ANSWER: "In order to give them enough room to grow and not be an issue with your neighbor in the future, I would place them at least 2 feet from the fence. That will give them a four foot area in which to grow.
QUESTION: "We have two weeping cherry trees (used to be three) near full grown. They are blooming, but very poorly this year. Any suggestions as why this might be, and what we can do to produce more blooms next year?" - Kathryne
ANSWER: Weather affects the blooming of most early spring flowering trees such as flowering cherry and flowering pear trees. It is quite likely that, with the flip-floppy weather that has been going on in many parts of the U.S., the trees experienced a cool weather snap just after the buds began to form. It's the most common reason as to why they lose their blooms or don't bloom as pretty as in other years. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about the weather!
QUESTION: "I have black fountain grass. How do I solve the problem of it reseeding itself?" - Rosie
ANSWER: The best way, when it begins to go to seed, is to cut the seed pods off before they can disperse. The other way is to put down an herbicide that prevents seed from germinating during the growing months.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org
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Your points are very good. As far as tree questions and answers here are some problems we can address together.
Many tree problems are associated with the following:
Troubles in the Rhizosphere http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/RHIZO.html
Unhealthy Trees from the Nursery / Improper Planting http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub1.html and Look up "Tree Planting" http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/RHIZO.html
Improper Mulching - http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub3.html and
http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/M/index.html Look up "Mulch"
Improper Pruning http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning /
Improper Fertilization (See A Touch of Chemistry) http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/CHEM.html
Also logging National Forest Insight http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/SOUND /
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.
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I find the anticipation is part of the planting. also, small plants are more easily moved somewhere else when I change my mind!!! Ingrid

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