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Planting shrubs and bushes

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by dmk395, May 20, 2001.

  1. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,006

    I am relatively new to the business, and havent done much with planting bushes, flowers etc. Is it easy to do, looks it, but dont really know. Also it seems to be very profitable, any advice?
  2. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    It's not all that difficult to plant shrubs. Know your soil types and plant accordingly.

    Knowing what to plant in your area is another tier of knowledge. You'll need to know sun/water/soil/fert requirements of plants, and those conditions in the various areas of the site.

    Knowing what will look good together is a third tier of knowledge.

    I've known small companies that have jumped into landscaping without knowing any of this. Their sites are also pretty easy to pick out in a neighborhood. :) :) :alien: :)

    Run a search in this forum and you'll find some sound advice from people that have been at this for awhile.
  3. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    Stonehenge is on the money. Just one thing I would add to that other tier of knowledge, Ph. Ph testing is probably one of the most important , least expensive and most frequently overlooked tests available.

    Many plants require a certain minimum or maximum Ph level to draw critical neutriants from the soil. I won't go into the entire scope of what Ph does for plant material, some plants are indiferant to Ph but not many.

    A excellant book to get you started is " The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants " by Michael A. Dirr. It will give you the necessary information on any woody plant material, including everything stonehenge mentioned as well as Ph.

    Good Luck,
    Jim L
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    planting is not the hard part, designing is what is critical. color, height , exposure and foilage coordination is critical. i find that most customers dont know what they want, they rely on your knowledge for descriptions of plants, blooming times, maximum heights, etc. there is great money in it if u do it right and charge properly. be creative, good luck, and read, read, read. also spend some time at local nurseries looking around and asking questions
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I agree with the above comments. I'd like to add a few things;

    1) You need to get familiar with the plants that are commoon in your area. Which ones to plant in which areas, their growth habbits, etc. There are two main ways to do this. First, get a Sunset Garden Book. They are specific to your region. Where I live, ours is called the Sunset Western Garden Book. They are invaluable. The glossary is every bit as valuable as the individual pages. Second, go to a very large retail nursery (one that has tags on each plant) and begin learning the common and botanical names of some of the popular plants and trees. I used to spend 4 hours every week just writing down names and a little sketch for each plant I came across. I'd say to myself, "Oh yah, I've seen this one before. What's this called?" Then I would always test myself. Everywhere I went when I'd see a plant I'd see if I could identify it. I'd say, "Photinea Fraseri...or.....Picea Abies Pendula..." or whatever.

    2) When planting, I have found the two most important aspects (other than planting at the correct depth, ammending the soil, etc.) are fertilizer tabs (or now bags seem to be more common) and immediate water. When I began planting we would be planting everything the right way buit we'd still lose a good 20-30% of the plants we planted. Then a fellow landscaper gave me the tip about water and fertilizer tabs when we planted and in over a year I haven't lost a plant now.

    Good luck.
  6. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    Something else is to know of 'other factors' that may affect any of your plantings.

    Here in NJ, deer damage is unbelievable. If an area is not fenced in, its almost a gurantee you plants are going to be destroyed.

    What this means is you have to know what you can and cannot plant in your area precisely. Its amazing how many contractors go out there still and plant thousands of dollars of material not knowing what they just did is create an 'all you can eat buffet' for the wildlife. I just laugh when I drive by anymore.

    Some companies actually have developed 'zone maps' for each county, down to individual neighborhoods, on what the deer will and will not eat. It is HUGE problem here, and becomes extremely frustrating.

    Though you go to the nursery and see all these plants, remember, they still want to make $ and will not necessarily tell you what will and will not live. Some things you have to learn by yourself, so I would pay close attention to your area and see what does do well and what doesn't, then start maybe experimenting with diff't things as you get a hang of it. If you jump right in with no clue, you are setting yourself up for a lot of headaches later on.

    Also, check out your own local state extension office. They usually have very good resources on what will and will not do well in your area.
  7. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 527

    Not to be the one witht he negative comment here, but where i am located i am in the process now of obtaining my MHIC# so i can legally install trees and shrubs. It may be different where you are but check before you start so you may be able to avoid problems if something were to happen during an install. Good Luck!!

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