Helpful Tips for Site Assessment

Learn the basics of site assessment with this guide, and maximize your available yard and garden space.

| June 2014

  • Gardens can contain bulbs, perennials, vegetables, fruit, woody vines, trees and shrubs. Proper site assessment can help you properly space and arrange these plants.
    Photo courtesy PALS Publishing
  • The author and master gardener harvest Chinese long beans at a New York City community garden.
    Photo courtesy PALS Publishing
  • "Site Assessment for Better Gardens and Landscapes" by Charles P. Mazza is a comprehensive guide to determining which plants will thrive in a given area.
    Cover courtesy PALS Publishing
  • Site assessment precedes garden design, plant selection, site modification and transplanting/maintenance.
    Chart courtesy PALS Publishing

Have you ever hesitated before planting, unsure whether your garden plan is right for the space you have to use? If that’s the case, you need to check out Site Assessment for Better Gardens and Landscapes (PALS Publishing, 2013) a great tool for learning how to evaluate the characteristics of a site and determining which plants will thrive. Author Charles P. Mazza offers advice and strategies for gardeners novice and expert alike, with more than thirty hands-on activities and fifty color photos. This excerpt is taken from “General Planning Information,” and explains what you need to get started down the path of site assessment.

You can purchase this book from the Capper's Farmer store: Site Assessment for Better Gardens and Landscapes.

Assessing a property is the first step in creating a new garden or landscape — or giving an old one a facelift. Most property owners don’t know how to do it right, so it is often overlooked or short changed. The assessment involves collecting detailed information about the property’s characteristics and its ability to support healthy plant growth. This step-by-step workbook is designed to help prevent unnecessary plant replacement and labor costs through careful site assessment. If you are new to gardening and landscaping, review the glossary to become familiar with common horticultural terms used in this workbook.

Since site assessment puts you in partnership with the environment, it results in a sustainable and easy-to-care-for landscape or garden. It reveals the limitations and opportunities to support plant growth. Plants experience stress when their oxygen, water, light, nutrient, carbon dioxide, and temperature requirements are not met. Site assessment allows you to account for these factors when designing your landscape or garden.

Site assessment is a discovery process. Completing the tasks described in this book will assist you in:

• Selecting appropriate plants for the site
• Minimizing plant disease problems
• Saving money
• Identifying conditions that lead to plant stress
• Developing strategies for improving the site



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