Zoning In

Summer is here, and it is time to turn all the dreaming you may have done over winter into action and decide what new and exciting trees and shrubs to plant in your garden.

“Be sure to choose shrubs and trees that are appropriate for our growing zone”

Whether you have a new house with a blank canvas of dirt to grow upon or are working with an established garden, it is important to remember these essential tips for a successful and vibrant yard.

Most importantly, be sure to choose shrubs and trees that are appropriate for our growing zone, which in Canada ranges from 0 to 8 (with 0 being the coldest and 8 being the warmest). In Airdrie, we are safely classified as Zone 3, meaning any plant with a rating of 3 or less will grow here.

Our company often has client requests for live material they may have seen on vacation on the west coast. While these are beautiful, most are not within our zone. Growing plants that are rated out of our zone is possible; however, this is a big challenge which may make these shrubs merely an overpriced annual instead of a long-term addition to your garden.

It is also good practice to avoid buying large sizes. Although these larger sizes allow for instant privacy and give the illusion of a mature landscape, they tend to have more issues than those of a smaller size.

Trees and shrubs have up to 70 per cent of their root system removed when they are harvested, leaving only 30 per cent of the roots to support 100 per cent of the tree. The bigger the tree, the harder the remaining roots need to work to support it, leading to a higher mortality rate. Smaller shrubs can survive much better on a smaller root base and tend to experience less transplant shock and show increased survivability.

Brent Park is president of Liquid Amber Landscape Management Ltd.

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