Water-Wise Landscaping in Needham, Massachusetts


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Water-Wise Landscaping in Needham, Massachusetts

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Water-Wise Landscaping in Needham, Massachusetts

  1. 1. WATER-WISE LANDSCAPING (XERISCAPING) IN NEEDHAMIn Needham we can generally expect adequate moisture most of the year, but there are someenvironments in which plants will be more vulnerable to periodic dry conditions, especiallyduring the summer. These environments include full sun, especially south and west exposures;windy, open locations; slopes, where water drains off quickly; where paving reduces waterpenetration into the soil; and where the soil is relatively sandy (adding compost improves thewater holding ability of fast-draining, sandy soils).For the first 1-3 years, newly planted plants need extra water. This can be especially true ofdrought-tolerant plants which may have deep root systems that can be damaged when they aredug up or planted. For instance, for the first two to three weeks water a new tree or shrubslowly so that water penetrates about 6-12 inches deep every few days, depending on theweather. Then water deeply during dry periods (less than one inch of rainfall during a week)for the first 1-3 years. Mulching - no more than about 2 inches (less for perennials) of mulch thatdoes not touch the stems - helps keep the soil moist.Plants have evolved many mechanisms to prevent water loss, which occurs mostly through theleaves. They may have deep tap roots; have grey/silvery leaves, indicating a thick waxy coatingcovering the surface – think of lavendar and some other herbs; have hairy, waxy, thick, small ornarrow leaves to reduce water evaporation; go dormant in the summer like spring bulbs andmany native spring wildflowers; or store water in their fleshy roots like daylilies. Some plants,such as crabgrass and succulents like sedums, even have a form of photosynthesis in which thechemical reactions require less water.What follows is a selection of ornamental, noninvasive, drought-tolerant plants for our area thatcan be planted in the potentially dryer environments described in the first paragraph above. Thecommon name is followed in parentheses by the more precise, scientific name (two parts, genus& species, but genus alone may be given). Plants marked with an asterisk (*) are native to theU.S.. TREESGreen Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)* European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulaArborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)* ‘Fastigiata’)Crabapple (Malus, with disease resistance)* Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata)Chinese/Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifoliaSawara Falsecypress (Chaemycyparis Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata) sawara) Silver Linden (Tilia tomentosa)White Fir (Abies concolor)* Red (Swamp) Maple (Acer rubrum)*Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)*Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) Red Oak (Quercus rubra)*Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus White Oak (Quercus alba)* phaenopyrum)* European white oak (Quercus roburGreen Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter ‘Fastigiata’) King’)* Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana cultivars)Thornless Honeysuckle (Gleditsia Native Pines (Pinus strobus, etc.)* triancanthos var. inermis)* Japanese White Pine (Pinus parviflora)American Hornbeam (Carpinus American Yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea)* caroliniana)* Parrotia (Parrotia persica)
  2. 2. SHRUBSBayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica)* Dwarf Pines (Pinus species, some*)Bluebeard (Caryopteris X clandonensis) Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa cultivars)*Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa cultivars) angustifolium)* St. Johnswort (Hypericum kalmianum & H.Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)* prolificum)*Inkberry (Ilex glabra)* Siberian Carpet Cypress (MicrobiotaDwarf Junipers (Juniperus species, some*) decussata)English Lavendar (Lavendula augustifolia) Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria)Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)* ‘Palibin’) Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var.Mockorange (Philadelphus cultivars) tomentosum cultivars, V. trilobum,*Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)* V.dentatum,* V. sieboldii) PERENNIALSAdam’s Needle (Yucca)*Aster (Aster spectabilis, A. laevis, etc.)*Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflora) Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa cultivars)*Basket-of-Gold (Aurina/Alyssum Hens-and-Chickens (Sempervivum species) saxatile ‘Compactum”’ Herbs (Artemesia species; Chives & GarlicBeardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)* chives-Allium species); Winter Savory-Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)* Satureia montana; Caraway & LemonBlazing Star (Liatris species)* Thymes; Feverfew–Tanacetum partheniumBlue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)* Lamb’s-ear (Stachys lanata)Spring Bulbs: species tulips (Tulipa greigii True Lilies (some Lilium species) & T. kaufmanniana, etc.,) & hybrids; Moss Pink (Phlox subulata cultivars)* Crocus species (Crocus chrysanthus & C. Ornamental Onions (Allium species) tommasinianus) & Dutch hybrids; grape Peony (Paeonia lactiflora cultivars) hyacinths (Muscari species); Daffodils, Poppy (Papaver species) narcissus, jonquils (Narcissus species); Rock Cress (Arabis) Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria)Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)* Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)Carnation/Pink (Dianthus species) Salvia hybrids (Salvia x sylvestris ‘MayCatmint (Nepeta x faassenii cultivars) Night’, S. x superba ‘East Friesland’)Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea Snow-in–Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) & cultivars)* Star Flower (Amsonia species)*Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum & Stonecrop/Sedum (Sedum spectabile and others other species)Day Lily (Hemerocallis cultivars) Tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata)*Evening Primrose (Oenothera missouriensis)* Barren Strawberry (WaldensteiniaClump-forming Ornamental Grasses fragaroides)* (Andropogon*, Festuca, Panicum Yarrow (Achillea millefolium hybrids)* virgatum*, Sporobolus heterolepsis*)DRY SHADE UNDER DECIDUOUS TREES: Spring bulbs and native, spring wildflowers(e.g. Bloodrooot, Trillium, Virginia Bluebells, Dutchman’s Breeches)* that go dormant insummer; Plantainlily (Hosta); Christmas Fern* & New York Fern*; False Lily-of-the-Valley*;Periwinkle/Myrtle (Vinca minor), Variegated Solomon’s Seal*; Wintergreen*; Geraniummacrorrhizum; Viola labradorica*SOME ANNUALS THAT TOLERATE DRY SOIL AND USUALLY SELF-SOW: sunflowers,Cosmos, Cleome, poppies, Portulaca, and Allysum © Sharon Soltzberg, 2007