A guide to choosing plants for your landscape now | Home and garden

A guide to choosing plants for your landscape now |  Home and garden

December – and winter in general – in Louisiana is a good time to plant in the landscape. Now is a good time to add trees, shrubs, and cold-season annuals and perennials. The key is knowing what to plant, where to plant it, and what the intended use of the space is.

Some things you want to avoid planting at this time of year are tropical plants, warm-season annual bedding plants, and turfgrass. But that still leaves a fair amount of plants to work with.

This is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Cooling temperatures and recent rain will help make this task much easier.

Cypress knees pose many problems for homeowners, so choose plants that match the level of maintenance required.

Remove and consider replacing any trees and shrubs that died during drought and extreme summer heat. For trees and shrubs that are not dead but are showing signs of distress, we may not know the true extent of the damage for years to come. Monitor them and consult a certified and licensed arborist to help decide on corrective action or removal.

When selecting plants for the landscape, it is important to consider various factors to ensure their successful growth and how they contribute to the overall aesthetic and functional goals of the design. Consider the purpose of your landscape – whether that be for aesthetics, functionality such as privacy screening, or specific themes.

When aesthetics are the goal, consider the color palette and texture of plants, making sure they complement each other and contribute to the desired visual appeal. Don’t forget seasonal interest.

Seasonal attention to plant selection refers to the ability of plants to provide visual appeal and distinctive features throughout the different seasons of the year. It involves selecting plants that offer a variety of characteristics such as flowers, foliage color, fruits, or other ornamental elements that change with the seasons. The goal is to create a landscape that remains visually attractive and dynamic, even when the natural environment undergoes seasonal changes.

Another important factor to consider is climate. As we saw this year, we need to choose trees and shrubs that can withstand long periods of drought and extreme temperatures in winter and summer.

Another important consideration is the amount of space available. Consider plant growth, both horizontally and vertically. Choose plants that suit the area and do not crowd or obstruct other items. Make sure to plant large trees an appropriate distance from the house based on their size at maturity. This cannot be stressed enough.

Consider maintenance requirements for plant selections. Evaluate your desire and ability to maintain your landscape. Select plants that match the level of maintenance you want, whether low maintenance or those that require more care.

It is a good idea to select plants based on their resistance to disease. Check plant tags or talk with staff at your retail garden center and LSU AgCenter to understand which plants have improved resistance. Always consider plants’ resistance to pests and diseases to reduce the need for chemical interventions and promote overall plant health.

Be aware of any local regulations or restrictions regarding certain types of plants, especially those that may be invasive or pose environmental risks. Talk to experts to understand whether your plant selection is considered an invasive species. Try to incorporate native plants that are adapted to the local environment and support local ecosystems. However, non-native species can also be used thoughtfully.

Don’t forget the wildlife attraction. Choose plants that attract beneficial wildlife such as pollinators, birds and butterflies, contributing to a biodiverse ecosystem.

The amount of sunlight the area gets is another important consideration. Choose selections that are appropriate for this amount of light. Trees that bloom will thrive much less in areas with heavy shade and little sunlight. Check plant tags and make sure the plants match their specific sunlight needs, whether they thrive in full sun, partial shade or full shade.

Other important factors are the type of soil in the landscape and the irrigation needs of the plants. Most plants require good drainage; Others can tolerate low-lying water stains. Choose accordingly. Also, if you don’t plan to water when rain is scarce, be sure to choose drought-tolerant plants.

By carefully considering these factors, you can create a balanced, sustainable landscape that matches your preferences, local conditions, and design goals.

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