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A few more things to consider before spring planting.

The spring season has arrived -- more or less. Weather conditions are steadily improving. The sun climbs higher in the sky. Daylength extends for more than 13 hours, providing some evening work time.

The soil has warmed sufficiently to support the growth of plant roots, yet average air temperatures remain cool. Rain has fallen in acceptable quantities. The excess has drained away, leaving the ground in fit condition to cultivate. It is time to plant. What are we waiting for?

Is it that a decision has not been made as to the actual plants we will install? Winter was the time to research, study and plan. Now is the time to plant.

What factors should you take into account when selecting plants for your property? The more matches between you and your site, the better.

There are practical considerations that should be reviewed. Do you have room for a large tree? What kinds of trees are already growing on your property? Is the proposed tree cold-hardy in your area?

Do you require an evergreen, or will a deciduous tree suffice? Does the tree species have particular needs as to soil, exposure or moisture, or does it have serious problems with insects or diseases?

There are also personal factors that should be considered. If you choose a tree for its flowers, will you be happy if it doesn't bloom for a few years? In what season do you wish the plant to flower? Do you also expect it to bear fruit or berries? Have you had your mind set on a remembered tree of your youth? If so, would the tree do well on your property?

Questions? Questions? Where do we find answers? Visit Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston to view a wide selection of trees that are each identified with clear labels. Each tree is carefully sited and superbly maintained.

If your primary interest is native plants of New England, your focus should be on Garden in The Woods in Framingham. Appreciate the ecological groupings of trees, shrubs, and flowers growing together in mutually supportive relationships.

If you require answers to your unique questions relative to your specific site, plan a trip to your local nursery. Ask to speak to a staff member who is a Massachusetts certified nurseryperson. If a nursery is professional, it will have one or more MCNs on its staff. These are dedicated professionals who have attended classes, passed exams and exhibited dedication to their professional advancement.

You can visit any plant department in the spring and be pointed in the direction of (for example) a Star Magnolia in full bloom. But is a Star Magnolia the right plant for your needs? Purchasing from a plant department in the spring may result in your yard with mostly (perhaps, only) spring-blooming plants.

Without guidance, your landscape is unlikely to reach its full potential. The wise homeowner seeks the helpful advice of dedicated professionals. Books are helpful, but one-on-one support is best.
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Title Annotation:Living
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 20, 2014
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