Preparing to move to a new place always requires preparation in the form of packing up your home, taking extra care with cherished possessions like your wedding china or the antique clock your grandfather gave you. For some though, the most important belongings are actually outside in the form of shrubs passed on through cuttings from your favorite aunt or your favorite flowers. Toby Rost, owner of Rost Landscaping and Superior Garden Center, shared a few tips for those green thumbs planning a relocation to Columbia:
What kinds of trees, plants and flowers do well here in Columbia/Mid-Missouri?
Almost anything will grow here, but our winters can be colder/windier than other moderate climates like the deep South. These plants must be treated with more care with placement in the landscape, assuming always though that one harsh winter will kill the plant. Depending on what plant it is you “treat them as different” roles in the landscape. There are tropicals that are shrubs and trees in Florida, but here in Missouri we treat them like annuals in our summer landscapes or containers knowing the first frost will kill them here, but we get to enjoy them for a short while. Any trees and shrubs you see in nature and woods here in Missouri are natives and of course will do very well since they grow well in the climate they are in. For example, dogwoods, redbuds, pears, oaks, maples,
etc. What you have to pay attention to is our “Hardiness Zone”. Professional Nurseries and Garden Centers typically only carry what will do well in Missouri because they offer guarantees of hardiness for one year and they can’t guarantee plants that are not hardy here.
Look on the plant tags at nurseries for the Zone Rating. This tells you the zone number that plant is…there are 13 zones in America and being in the middle of the country we are Zone 6 based on our current temperatures. This was recently changed from Zone 5. This will tell you which plants to buy (or not).
What is the best time for planting?
Typically spring and fall are the optimal time for planting due to the cooler days and nights plus more regular rainfalls at those times of year. You can successfully plant most plants all year round until the ground freezes (around Christmas in Missouri). In summer you can plant, but must take a few more steps to ensure success such as an irrigation system or taking care to water thoroughly once a week during the summer heat.
What are some plants that aren’t necessarily native to our area that still transfer well? (If someone has a favorite tree, shrub etc., what kinds of things will they be able to transplant, what will they have to leave behind?)
Questions a gardener would have to ask are: Are you moving to a different zone? What time of year is it? When you transplant plants they must be in a dormant stage or your success rate is very low. Plants are dormant in winter when the leaves have defoliated, so that’s from about October-April. This is the ideal time when you go in a dig/disturb roots to transplant.
There are very few instances where this works out perfectly and special plants must be left behind for the next homeowner to enjoy. The good news is there are so many options at nurseries that carry Missouri hardy trees and shrubs and you can probably find them again to enjoy in your new landscape.