Monday, December 15, 2008

Landscape - Horticultural Ecosystems VI

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

Once you have your landscape in place, the landscape maintenance company will manage the horticultural ecosystem. You can introduce new species and replace current plants. Interplant competition is a major factor that needs to be managed to favor one plant over another or to allow plants in close proximity to coexist. Growth modification will alter the horticultural ecosystem so pruning and thinning must be done with that in mind. Remember that the plants themselves will modify the landscape environment. You must also manage spread of plants and control invasives. Another point to consider is that natural succession is a strong force and plants from surrounding natural areas may come into a landscape without your assistance.

When you introduce or remove a species consider the effects on the horticultural ecosystem. Is the new plant compatible with the system? How will the removal of a plant alter the landscape?

Invasive species can be a challenge in some landscapes. Take time to understand why these species are invading your horticultural ecosystem and use appropriate control measures that do not harm the landscape.

I will have more on these topics in future posts.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County

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