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Extension > Plant Selection: Plant Elements of Design > 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Searching for plants: critical criteria, plant spacing

Japanese lilac with room to grow.
Understanding the site conditions is key to finding the best plants that match both the growing conditions and your vision for your landscape. Searches will yield the best results if you start with the most critical criteria: zone, soil, light, plant type and size. A landscape will not be sustainable if plants are stressed by trying to grow in the wrong zone, soil type and cramped spacing. In some cases, landscape use also falls into this critical list as you may be selecting for a very specific purpose / design such as xeriscaping, attracting wildlife or erosion control. After entering this critical criteria, clicking search and reviewing the results, add more subjective features such as texture, form, and seasonal interest. Click search again, add another criteria, and so forth. Eventually, you will have some solid options that fit most / all your needs.
Close competition between
this juniper and ginkgo.

Regardless of whether you plant 4" transplants, two-gallon containers, or B&B trees, plants should always be spaced so that they can grow to their mature size without touching or barely touching neighboring plants or structures. In this picture (right), a pair of columnar junipers are planted on top of the roots of a Gingko. Aside from the fact this is poor design and the form of the juniper is compromised, this close proximity will force competition between the plants for water, nutrients, space and - ultimately - light. Spacing plants in this manner puts the junipers and the gingko at a disadvantage and creates a stressful growing situation.

If, after planting, a landscape of young shrubs and trees looks sparse, fill in with annual flowers, or perennials that can be moved / divided as the woody plants mature.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How to: Text-to-Columns - Converting a comma delimited file (.csv) to columns

A .csv file exported from the Plant Elements of Design.
Commas separate the plant data information.
Plant Elements of Design exports plant lists as comma delimited files (.csv). This file format accommodates various spreadsheet programs. This is important as we have users literally from all over the world on different platforms. Using the .csv file format provides flexibility.

 If you are using Microsoft Excel on your computer and want your exported plant data to organize in
The file after "Text-to-Columns" was applied.
columns, follow these steps:
  1. Save your .csv file. 
  2.  Highlight the first column on your .csv file. 
  3. Click on DATA on the toolbar.
  4. Click on "Text to Columns”. 
  5.  Click on “Delimited” and “Next”.
  6.  Click on “Comma” and “Next”.
  7. Click on “General” and “Finish” 
Be sure to save your converted file!
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