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Landscaping for success

Gregg Eyestone

By A Contributor

The last step when putting together a landscape design is selecting the right plants. These plants are chosen because they perform the necessary function determined in the landscape. It may be for shade, screening, an accent, foundation planting, boarder and etc.

Landscape design takes knowledge and effort. There are many resources available to provide you with knowledge. You are welcome to attend my landscaping class which will be held beginning on Thursday, February 23 at 6:30 pm. More information is available from the Extension office or sign up through the UFM Community Learning Center. Enrollment can be done on line at or call 785-539-8763.

K-State Research and Extension has lists of recommended plants. They have been trialed or observed growing in our Kansas conditions. There are several factors to consider when selecting these and other plants for the landscape.

Hardiness is determined by temperatures. Recently, the USDA made the judgment that the Manhattan area is now labeled as a zone 6a cold hardiness zone. That means that the air temperature won’t be below a negative 10 degrees F. The heat zone identification of 7 hasn’t changed yet. We are still in the 60 to 90 days of above 85 degrees F. a year.

Most plants grow best in sunlight all day. Landscapes will have areas where there isn’t full or all day sunlight. There are plants that can grow best in part sun areas that get 4 to 6 hours of full sunlight. Part shade plants mean less than 4 hours of sunlight. Shade plants don’t want any direct sunlight.

Matching up soil conditions with the right plants can make or break plant success. Soil moisture availability is in relations with oxygen in the soil for a healthy root system. Nutrient capacity and pH vary among soils and plants have different requirements.

A few other factors to consider are spacing and wind. The design is to plant at mature size for the plant. Some plants are more adapted to wind. Utility lines and easements impact placement and sizing of plants. All these factors determine the success of a landscape.

If you would like additional information on a horticulture topic, please contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension. Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: and at

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