Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

A Sometimes Harsh Planet: With Most Ornamental Plants Transplanted to Alien Environments, Special Care Is Needed in Order to Enable Them to Flourish

Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

A Sometimes Harsh Planet: With Most Ornamental Plants Transplanted to Alien Environments, Special Care Is Needed in Order to Enable Them to Flourish

Article excerpt

Landscapers today Face a Formidable challenge: the Fact that the overwhelming majority of ornamental plants in the developed world are not indigenous to the habitat in which they presently exist. Moreover, indoor and outdoor environments have become much more adverse to plants through such factors as climate extremes and soil that may never have been receptive or may have deteriorated over time. How, then, to ensure that these transplants thrive?

Access to water is just the beginning, for plants need either to make or receive many vitamins, hormones and other compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in order to flourish.

Over the past half century or so, an extraordinarily large number of trees, bushes, flowers, and grasses have been uprooted from their native environments and transplanted in order to beautify estates, parks, esplanades, residential and business developments, government buildings and highway routes. With so much of the planet's vegetation thus rearranged, the solution at first appears to be anything but simple, as removing plants from their natural environment can have as shocking an effect as the sudden cancellation of a college freshman's credit card.

The transplantation process itself is a traumatic procedure; uprooting a tree, a bush or even a small flowering plant, disturbs its place in the environment and extra care is needed in order to make the transplanted vegetation take root and subsequently thrive.

"Transplanting a tree is like performing surgery on a person," noted Tom Lied, past president of the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). "It's a great shock to its system. You don't expect to feed a steak dinner to someone right after they've undergone major surgery--you have to stabilize their system first and make sure the healing process is underway. It's the same with a plant. When a plant's in shock, it can't produce the substances that it needs to stabilize and nourish itself. …

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