The Zones in your Garden

The areas of your Garden preferred by different Plants and Birds

We will take the word "Garden" to include all the areas of your property,
whether something is planted there or not. These different Zones may change their characteristics when Plants are added or removed. They may also change with the seasons and weather variations.

With Birds and Wildlife, we refer to Zones as "Habitat". It's those fundamental elements which are supportive to the life of a particular species of Plant or Animal. Food is high on the list, whether it's Berries for Birds or Soil Nutrients for Plants. Squirrels need Trees, Rabbits favor Fence Rows, Fish demand Water.

Gardeners may not think much about Birds and Wild life when we Landscape our property or Garden, but desirable Plants and Animals can be welcomed or shunned by our choices. For instance, Shrubs on the North side of a Garden will provide a nesting site to attract insect-eating Birds to your Garden, which minimizes the need for costly and dangerous Insecticides.

A "Plant" that slowly creates definite Zone characteristics is a Black Walnut Tree.
Its roots exude Juglone, a Toxic substance that is a killer to some Plants including Tomatoes. It may remain in the soil for years after the Walnut Tree is removed. Then the soil may slowly change back to the Garden Zone which it was before the Tree grew there, and allow Tomato Plants to grow there again.

The characteristics of a particular spot are the factors which determine which Plants will thrive there and which will not. It is much easier to plant varieties which love the existing Zone, than to change the Zone to satisfy a different Plant.

Lowlands tend to be damp, because the water drains down there. Plants that like moisture may be happy there. And if there happens to be a shade Tree, then another group of Plants may also be happy there. Already, we have defined 2 Garden Zones; Damp and Sunny, and Damp and Shady.

You can't have Lowlands without having  Highlands. So unless your land is flat, we can assume that another shady spot could define a 4th. Garden Zone. The higher elevations will have better drainage than the lower elevations, which is just exactly what some Plants prefer.

Within Major Zones there will be Minor Zones, which may have daily or seasonal variations that are to the liking of particular Plants. Bright morning sunshine may be appreciated by Impatiens and Bleeding Hearts. But the hot, noonday Sun may wilt them. However, if there is a shade Tree nearby that casts a protective shadow over them at high noon, they may have found a happy home. 

Rhododendrons, Azaleas  and Hydrangeas may also be happy there, especially if the Tree is an Oak or some other species whose decomposing Leaves add acidic Compost to the Soil.

If you have a Wood Burner, and scatter the Ashes on your property, then that area will become less acid, or more alkaline and support those Plants which prosper under those conditions.

And if there is a Rock outcropping or Stone cover under the Tree, they will provide even more Zones. Stones tend to prevent soil drying and weed growth and are used as a Plant Mulch. They also tend to raise the coolness of the earth above the ground level in a shady area or hold the warmth of sunshine during cool evenings. Plants that appreciate these characteristics may have found their preferred Zone.

Nutrients are a major factor in the selection of Zones. While some Plants may thrive on very meager rations, others demand a banquet to produce the desired results. All these many varying factors create an almost endless list of Garden Zones on your property.

The bottom line is that you can save yourself a lot of work, if you will look around to see what is growing naturally, and study charts that indicate Plant preferences. Then select Plants based on the characteristics of your naturally occurring Zones, rather than trying to change Zones to suit your favorite Plants and work endlessly to maintain the unnatural Zones.

Remember that your County Agent is the expert on Plants and Soil,
and may even test your Soil(s) for free.

Comments ?

Be sure to read our Disclaimer

Site Design by . . .

Report WebSite Glitches and Bugs to our Webmaster