You Can’t Plant That Here aka Right Plant, Right Place

I see it every day.  Wrong Plant, Wrong Place.  Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard.  Maybe job security.  Maybe just (as the Spanish speakers say) “así es”, or “it is, what it is”.


On a recent trip, in a location known for “good horticulture”, I ran across some good, er, bad examples.  There were trees growing into power lines, trees planted in the hell strip between the street and sidewalk, turfgrass growing in narrow strips, a tree planted next to the foundation of a house, shady plants in the sun and shrubs that have gotten way too big for the amount of room available.  I also saw the exact opposite – trees, shrubs, flowers and turf planted in good locations and being cared for well.


curvy sidewalk




In order to avoid the you can’t plant that here syndrome, follow a few simple rules:

*Before planting, read the care tag.  If it says “for sun”, plant it in the sun.  If it says “grows to 48 inches, plant it behind a sign, not in front of it.

*Investigate the growth rate.  If a plant is slow growing, such as dwarf alberta spruce, it’s going to take a few years to get to a 4 foot height.

*Keep the purpose and location in mind when choosing plants.  If you want to be able to view a scenic setting, don’t plant a tree in front of the window.


John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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