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Chief's Monthly Message

Apr 23

[ARCHIVED] Your Best Landscape

The original item was published from April 23, 2021 8:33 AM to April 23, 2021 8:34 AM

After a cold winter, it’s time to reward yourself with new landscape plants. Spring flowering trees and shrubs are in full bloom, garden centers are bursting at the seams, and we all want to get outside.

With warm days and cool nights, Spring is a beautiful time to plant. If deciding what to plant is holding you up, the Derby Park & Urban Forestry Board has information to help you. Dating back to 2009, the board has produced a planting guide with recommended trees, shrubs, turfgrass, and planting guidelines. Guides can be found at

Plant recommendations are based on research trials conducted just across the river at the K-State Horticultural Center. The focus is on hardy, reliable, attractive trees and shrubs. The guide has a selection of large shade trees, a few small ornamental trees, and an evergreen or two. Trees that need frequent irrigation, are weak in a windstorm, or have pest issues are not recommended.

Looking for a tall, narrow tree to fit in a tight space? Check out Regal Prince Oak. How about a small flowering tree with edible fruit? Serviceberry is a great option because it’s beautiful and delicious.

Tips for successful planting are also included in the guide. Recommendations have changed over time and the current guidelines will help your new plant get off to a great start. The two most common mistakes made when planting a new tree are digging the planting hole too deep and overwatering. Both lead to unsatisfactory results.

The guide also addresses your lawn. Everybody wants a beautiful lawn with green grass, but that look comes with a cost. Turfgrass is the largest consumer of outdoor water for most homes. Then there is the mowing and fertilizing to consider. The guide covers the most common species of turf used in Derby and the benefits, drawbacks, and water requirements. Not all species require the same amount of water or fertilizer. However, not all species are as attractive.

The City of Derby and the Park & Urban Forestry Board offer resources to help you make an informed decision when it comes to picking out the perfect plant. Check out the guide or contact your local experienced nursery and landscape professional, K-State Research and Extension, or the City of Derby Parks Department. We all benefit when beautiful trees and shrubs fill our community.

Jason Griffin, PH.D.
Parks & Urban Forestry Board Member
Professor & Director, John C. Pair Horticultural Center
Kansas State University, Dept. Horticulture & Natural Resources