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Installing and Maintaining Landscapes

Proper installation and maintenance of the ecologically designed landscape begins a pattern in which each component in the landscape supports the others. Ecological methods can save you time, resources, and money by keeping water and organic material on site and by utilizing organic soil amendments and chemical interventions only when testing shows they are necessary.

Figure 4: Heavy soil moving machines commonly used for excavation and moving piles of excavated soil during foundation digging. There are smaller versions of these for smaller sites, but they still cause severe soil compaction. 

Helical Piles

By Bruce Wenning

Want to construct an addition to your home but are afraid of damaging treasured mature trees and plantings, not to mention the damage from heavy machinery upon the soil structure. Helical piles are the answer. This little-known pier foundation system requires less time and physical effort than “dig and pour” cement footings and continuous cement foundations.

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Partridge_Pea_&_Bee_(5761053027) 

Lawn Murder

By Leslie Duthie

Americans love their lawns yet they provide minimal habitat or ecological value for anything other than humans. From an ecological standpoint, I started to rethink the importance of the “lawn” and to consider a smaller lawn and? or? lawn alternatives that do not require fertilizer, water, or much mowing. Ultimately, I decided the best solution would be to replace the lawn with new gardens. 

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Five Reasons Synthetics Are No Longer Considered Best Practices

By Chip Osborne

All industries eventually arrive at best practices that represent the most productive and efficient method to deliver desired results while at the same time minimizing negative impact. While it is understood that all practices are subject to change over time, our industry changes have been motivated by the knowledge that the synthetics we use may have unintended consequences at times.

 

 

 

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Creeping Phlox stolonifera is an excellent ground cover. 

Eco-Answers from the Pros: Do I Need Mulch with Groundcover?

In areas where I am trying to grow ground covers that self-spread, I haven’t been using mulch, thinking the mulch will hinder the self-spread of the desired ground cover. Thus weeds and other things I didn’t want to grow in that space do fill in. Is it recommended to use mulch even when the ultimate goal is to have the ground covered with plants? Mulch will save me a lot of weeding time.

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<em>Aster novi-belgii</em>( New York aster) and <em>Rudbeckia hirta</em>(black-eyed Susan) brighten the view toward the water.  Photo by Mirna Canales.  Midsummer.  Northeast, MD. 

As Things Always Change, the Nature of Nature Remains the Same

By Kelsey Skaroff

2020 was obviously a remarkable year for many in adjusting work, relationships, and life in general in response to a pandemic, social justice movements, the economy, climate change, and politics. After a brief moment of uncertainly my job as Head Gardner went on as normal in this most unusual year.

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 Decomposing leaves blend with the environment and act as 

Leave the Leaves!

By Catherine Carney-Feldman

Though fall cleanup can be a hard habit to break, there are ample reasons to leave those leaves. Most native pollinator species overwinter right in your leaf litter and dead stems of your perennials. Leaf compost can greatly enhance the quality of your soil, help it retain moisture, and protect young plants from fluctuating winter temperatures. Utilize your leaves as a resource rather than a problem. 

 

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Forest Savers LLC from Woodstock, Vermont uses a custom-built tractor to uproot and shred invasive shrubs at the Oyster River Forest in Durham, NH as part of a 60-acre restoration project to restore a healthy native plant community to benefit pollinators, songbirds, and the state-endangered New England cottontail. 

Reducing Invasive Plants and Recovering a Healthy Plant Community

By Ellen Snyder

In southeastern New Hampshire, where I work with landowners and communities on land stewardship, managing invasive plants is a constant struggle. As the Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Town of Durham, I’m guiding three restoration projects on town conservation land. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of invasive plants on all three properties. To avoid invasive paralysis, I keep my focus on the goal: restoration of a place to a mostly self-sustaining, healthy plant community.  The reward is a restored landscape brimming with native plants and native beneficial insects. 

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 In this second year of growth, the Education Building begins to feel grounded in a verdant landscape. Photo by Jamie Purinton
 

Let it Rain

by Jamie Purinton &  Marc Wolf

Mountain Top Arboretum was designed to mimic and compliment the wondrous native plant communities of New York’s Catskill Mountains. Habitats such as wet meadows and seeps, woodland edges, and bedrock alpine communities completely guided the style and content of the plantings and the stonework. Teamwork combining design, planting, stormwater management, and a focus on educating the public culminated in a landscape that can be resilient through all types of weather. 

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 From left: A garden of anise hyssop, little bluestem, sneezeweed, boneset in front of smooth hydrangea. 

Lessons Learned on A Native Plant Journey

By Cathy Weston

A visit to  Cape Cod brings us to a  2-acre fallow farmland property where the homeowner/gardener has spent years cutting back invasive plants to return the land from an Old Field habitat to a Coastal Woodland.  The amount of effort to remove and keep invasives at bay could seem a daunting task, but this homeowner persevered and with trial and error created a beautiful ecological habitat for both herself and the wildlife her property now calls home. 

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A blue heron in the wetlands as they appear today. Photo by Pam Morris Olshefski. 

Restoring the Wetlands of Morris Arboretum

by Eloise Gayer

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is well known for its abundance of mature trees and horticultural displays. In 2001 the Arboretum began the restoration of a drained wetland that would not only serve as a blueprint for other wetland restoration projects but also create more educational opportunities for the entire community. Learn about the history of this wetland, that was farmland at the turn of the century then one hundred years later was reverted back into a natural wetland.

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