Thursday, February 11, 2010

Native Trees, Shrubs and Vines

Trees, Shrubs and Vines for Urban and Rural America
A planting Design Manual for Evironmental Designers

Gary L Hightshoe
Professor of Landscape Architechture
Iowa State University

If you have been trying to decide which native woody plants to include in your landscape (and you live east of the rockies) then this is a very good book for you.

As individuals trying to choose for our own garden this book may be a bit pricey. Therefore I suggest first getting a good look in your local library or arboretum. It will take some time, at over 800 pages of information, but you can always go back another time .

There is plenty of information on each plants visual characteristics but it is the ecological information that is the most helpful.
Maps showing native distribution and the urban tolerance charts plus wildlife value information,
help decide between species.
The complied data on many similar shrubs such as cornus...
Gray dogwood/c. racemosa versus silky dogwood/c. amomum
or even redosier/c. stolonifera (redtwig)
is presented in a manner that aids decision and does not overwhelm.

Clethra/summersweet is often touted for wet to moderates soils but the maps show that is not locally native to Chicago where I live
but it is resistant to salt and soil compaction.

A choice for dry to droughty soil moisture might be Sweetfern/ comptonia peregrina.
Maps show an area along the bottom of Lake Michigan that includes Chicago
but not the rest of Illinois.
This plant does show a resistance to salt but is sensitive to compacted soils.

Each woody plant be it tree shrub or vine is evaluated for wildlife using high moderate or low rating and including a few creatures and if for food, shelter or nesting.
Evidence of value to insects being taken into account was lacking but that is not unusual in that this book was copywritten in 1988.

Within this book you will find a philosophy requiring of designers an understanding of the unique environmental conditions of each site and a focus on the mutual dependencies and interrelationships characteristic of its indigenous plants and wildlife community.


Blogger garden girl said...

Sounds like an excellent reference - thanks for the info Gloria. I'll definitely check out this book through our interlibrary loan system.

14/2/10 7:15 AM  
Blogger Mizz Bee said...

I agree with garden girl. This information is very useful. Thanks.

14/2/10 9:07 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Experimenting with perennials is one thing but woody plants like trees and shrubs take a longer time to establish and cost more. So it is nice to have this kind of information. Since I am particularly interested in natives the maps were a great help.

17/2/10 11:16 AM  

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