A GROWING CONCERN: Some crucial issues to consider for right plant, right spot

Mature plant size is a major consideration when picking a plant, particularly since our weather is ideal for growing.

LAST WEEK, WE began a discussion on making sure that anything you plant is sited size-wise for the area it will consume upon full maturity.

I mentioned how 100-foot tall trees that grow 8 feet wide and are spaced 20 feet from each other in an 8-foot strip under power lines are not the right plants in the right spot by any means (although not that unusual, sadly).

But nor is a 6-foot bush in front of a 4-foot window, so mature plant size is always the overriding tenet.

With that said, let’s start a two-week discussion on exactly what factors and conditions, along with your desires and lifestyle, ultimately determine what qualifies as having put the “right plant in the right spot.”

Let’s begin with the “Big 3” of conditions with the most impact on your plant’s ability to grow and thrive:

1. The soil: The medium in which your plant grows will greatly improve or impair your plant’s health; in fact, no matter how great a plant you bought, how good of a person placed it in the ground, how well you water it or how perfect the selection is for the area available, it is all for naught if your soil is wrong for the plant.

Does it require sandy soil, acidic alkaline, nutrient-poor or rich in food? This can be very dependent on soil structure or texture.

What about organic material or mulch requirements?

So the first thing you should do is get your soil tested.

In Clallam County, go to your conservation district office, located at 228 W. First St. and open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, or call 360-775-3747 for more details.

In Jefferson County, go to the conservation district office at 205 W. Patison St., Port Hadlock, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, or call 360-385-4105.

Make sure to denote what it is you are going to grow (deciduous trees are different than conifers).

Then your results will include what to do with your soil to make it ideal for growing.

If your soil is not right, your plant will never be, and soil is something you can amend, haul in or change.

2. Moisture: We have all read the labels: “prefers well-drained soil,” “likes wet conditions,” “handles dry conditions,” “does not like its roots wet,” “soil moisture is critical for great plant production,” etc.

So when selecting a plant for a spot, consider whether the location is wet, dry, drains well, is soggy in the winter or is very windy and sunny.

Then either select plants ideal for that spot or “change” that spot.

Sometimes I (and the client) really want a certain plant for an area with proper moisture conditions for optimum growth, so we alter the spot.

Dig a French drain in very wet soil, plant on a mound for better drainage, install water lines or add a lot of organic material for water retention and then add mulch.

Always have the soil moisture be perfect for what the plant requires, and again, you can arrange or change that.

3. Light: Always determine not only the light conditions of the spot now but how it will be in the future. Trees grow tall, houses get built right next to you and new bushes do not stay small.

Full sun means full sun.

Is it dark shade or dappled light, filtered light or light shade?

How will the plants you plant now, so cute in their little pots, be in 10 years, 15 or 20, and will that affect the sunlight then?

And this, too, you can change by thinning surrounding branches or by thinning or cutting down existing trees.

You can also plant a grove for shade.

So consider first the big 3 — soil, moisture and light — and either select the most well-suited plants or alter one or more of these for optimum effect.

Next week: more.

________

Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] dailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).

More in Life

ISSUES OF FAITH: Find a way to come together in love

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died… Continue reading

Alan Peterson will present “Song of the Poet” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. 

Peterson will be the guest speaker, via Zoom, at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave. Sunday service begins at 10 a.m. 

Attendees must make a reservation by 5 p.m. Saturday by calling 360-457-3981.

The service will also stream live at www. facebook.com/unityof portangeles.

For more information, call 360-457-3981 or visit www.unityintheolympics.org.
Unity speaker scheduled for Sunday

Alan Peterson will present “Song of the Poet” at… Continue reading

Shred event to benefit Back to School Fair

Lutheran Community Services and the Port Angeles School District… Continue reading

Local churches to stream services online

List includes Port Angeles, Sequim, Gardiner, Port Townsend and Chimacum

A great client, Karen, has planted numerous types of brassica this last week. Due to her active pet Corgies— who root out any new scent, such as various slug baits, as food — copper mesh has been installed around the border to deter slugs who feast on brassica. (Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)
A GROWING CONCERN: Brassica a winning play for gardeners

THE NATIONAL COLLEGE basketball championship game went down to the final shot,… Continue reading

Aging Mastery discussions offered

The North Olympic Library System invites seniors to take… Continue reading

Grief support group offered online weekly

Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County is offering a grief… Continue reading

Self-guided walks start at Port Angeles garden

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Clallam County Master… Continue reading

tsr
Clallam, Jefferson county volunteers honored for service

AmeriCorps Seniors Clallam/Jefferson Retired & Senior Volunteer Program honored dozens… Continue reading

Clallam Conservation District to host webinars on pasture, hayland

The Clallam Conservation District will host two webinars for… Continue reading

Peninsula College Foundation extends deadline for scholarship applications

The Peninsula College Foundation has extended its application deadline… Continue reading