Great Trees and Shrubs for Sustainable Landscapes

Cover of The Homeowner's Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook

Trees and shrubs play an outsized role in our landscapes. They’re big and they last a long time, so we should expect them to pull their weight with both aesthetics and ecological services. There’s no reason why these structural woody plants can’t be beautiful, solve problems and support wildlife all at once. Well-chosen, suitably sited trees and shrubs require little care once established, which conserves time, energy and material resources. They form layers in the landscape, creating habitat for wildlife while cooling the earth, sequestering carbon and preventing erosion. Native trees and shrubs are especially beneficial as food sources, shelter and nesting sites for pollinating insects, birds and animals.

There are so many beautiful, interesting, low-care, life supporting trees and shrubs available to us. Yet across the nation, we see cookie-cutter landscapes with the same few plants drowning in a sea of wood chip mulch. Many are invasive, disease-prone, short-lived, ill-matched to the site, or just plain boring, and offer minimal ecological benefit. So let’s replace them with diversity, practicality, color and year-round character.

How to choose them and how to use them?

Karen introduces an array of superior trees and shrubs that are either widely adaptable or adapted to difficult conditions such as shade, salt spray, deer browsing or wet soils, emphasizing eastern North A
merican natives. Her identifying photos convey each plant’s character, beauty and wildlife value. Images from attainable sustainable landscapes show how to use them effectively – as groundcovers, colorful accents, specimens, screens, hedges, creators of shade and privacy, as erosion control, in rain gardens, in formal and informal styles and in all seasons. The presentation concludes with a discussion of tree and shrub care – pruning, protecting and celebrating.

Karen is photographer of The Homeowner’s Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook

Contact Karen to book this talk