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Companion Plants Thrive Together

Upper row from left to right: Magnolias, Native Azaleas, and Cornus sp. (Dogwoods) - great companion upper canopy plants. Lower row from left to right: Anemones, Jack in the Pulpit, and Wild Ginger.

Plants when paired together based on their habitat and nutrient needs, complement each other instead of constantly competing for space and nutrients. They will thrive together to make beautiful and sustainable gardens. Adding adequate amendments also gets easier because their needs aren't mismatched. For eg., plants that require acidic soils when paired together, will make gardening seem hassle free.

Organic mulches are available in many mediums such as: Cocoa bean hulls, crushed corn cobs, grass clippings, composted leaves, pine needles peat, wood chips and even straw can be used as mulch.

"A mulch is any material used to reduce evaporation and water runoff, inhibit weed growth, and/or create an attractive appearance in landscapes. Mulch is left on the soil surface while a soil amendment is incorporated into the soil. There are two types of mulches, organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include woodchips, bark, straw, grass clippings, seed hulls, etc. Inorganic mulches include gravel and rock. The ideal mulch does not compact readily. It does not hinder water and air movement into the soil, it is not a fire hazard, and it breaks down slowly. In addition, the ideal mulch is weed-free, attractive, and does not blow away. A common practice is to apply mulch over landscape fabric to reduce weed growth. Correctly applied mulch does not require landscape fabric to be effective. Landscape fabric is not needed beneath other mulches and in many cases is detrimental to plant and soil health.

A good mix of plants that require acidic soils naturally are: Azaleas, Magnolias, and Dogwoods, making a good upper canopy layer. Complementing ground covers for them would be: Anemones, Asarum (wild ginger) and Arisaema (Jack in the Pulpit). And a good mulch for all these plants would be Pine straw or Pine fines.

Follow us next week for more information on other companion plant mixes.

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