13 Common Landscape Mistakes: 3. Not realizing the growth habit of a plant

Plants are like children, most are very different in how they act and look.  Some plants have hundreds of cultivars or varieties that might look similar to the parent plant but each can have a growth habit that is very different from cultivar to cultivar.  It is important to know what you are planting  before you decide where it should be planted in the landscape.  Just this year, we moved two beautiful trees because they were planted in a space that each tree eventually outgrew.  It’s always easier and cheaper to plant a tree or shrub once, when it is somewhat small and manageable rather than having to transplant it  down the road because it doesn’t fit into the landscape anymore. 

The tree above was a weeping Beech planted 4′ from a house.  Weeping Beeches grow to over a 100′ tall and wide.  Not a good idea!

The homeowners thought this tree was a dwarf Japanese Maple when they brought it home from a nursery in the back of a station wagon.  7 years later, the tree outgrew its space.  Now, it’s 18′ tall, 4000 lbs and starting to consume a parking space in an already small driveway.

Hemlocks grow 100′ tall and 40′ wide.  It will be interesting to see how this property owner deals with this future landscape.

By knowing what plants you have before they go into the landscape, you can prevent future moves that are costly, require large equipment, and are time-consuming.

For pictures of our past projects go to our website.

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Richard Schipul
Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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