Thursday, December 11, 2008

Landscape - Horticultural Ecosystems II

This is the second in a series on viewing the landscape as a horticultural ecosystem. This is a sustainable approach to landscaping. Slides are from a presentation that I give on the subject.

Disturbance plays a key role in horticultural ecosystems. How the landscape is designed, installed, and managed after this initial disturbance will determine how well it will function as a horticultural ecosystem.

This is a an example of what a landscaper has to work with on a newly developed property in DE. It is challenging to get the landscape to establish and even more challenging to develop a healthy horticultural ecosystem.

When the land is disturbed during development, there are many changes that take place that will affect the subsequent success of the landscape. The natural ecosystem is destroyed and it is up to you to help create the new horticultural ecosystem.

Woods clearing alters the ecosystem drastically. The environment is exposed to greater extremes in temperature. Wind now becomes a factor. Soil characteristics change because of the clearing.

Soil movement can destroy soil structure, result in compaction, and expose subsoil with poor chemical characteristics for plant growth.

Topsoil movement off and back onto a site has large impacts on the root environment.

Construction activities can leave a challenging soil environment that needs to be modified before establishing the new landscape.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County.

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