The article below,furnished by Plant Publicity Holland, describes
the experiment, which tests an alternative to the mass planting
of small plant material, not only from the point of view of survival
and success of the planting, but with an eye to the economics of
the two methods.
A cost-saving alternative
technique for landscaping in public parks will be presented on the
occasion of the Floriade 2002 in Haarlemmermeer near Amsterdam.
For this project a recreational area covering 10 hectares was established
in the spring of 1999. It represents a joint initiative sponsored
by the Dutch nursery sector and the Province of Noord-Holland.
The spacious recreational
area of Prins Bernhardbos was laid out within two months using the
"Ruyten Integral Planting Method" developed by Frits Ruyten
of the landscape architecture bureau "Integralis" in Venray,
Netherlands. In contrast with the traditional system which uses
"stayers and leavers" (overplanting with the knowledge
that many will be thinned out later), the integral planting method
uses relatively large trees and shrubs. The shrubs are planted sufficiently
far apart to avoid the necessity of thinning in later years.
A lower level of maintenance
is required using this method, with an initial ground cover sowing
to suppress weeds. If necessary the ground cover can be mowed once
or twice a year. Due to the size of the newly planted shrubs, these
herbaceous ground-covering plants offer no competition to them.
At the time they
were planted, the trees used for this research project were
15 years old. They were 7 metres (23 feet) tall with a 3m
(10 ft) canopy. The shrubs were between six and eight years
old, 1.5 to 2.5 m (5-8 ft) tall and 1.5 to 2 m (5-6.5 ft)
diameter. With this method, the distance between each plant
is substantially larger than that of the traditional system.
A benefit of the
system is that with fewer shrubs in the planting area, there
is less competition and the plants develop better. This is
shown not only by the better form of the plants, but by the
improved blooming and fruiting.
The "Ruyten Integral
Planting Method," for which older and more expensive plant
material is used, has a higher initial cost than the traditional
system. In the long run, however, it is projected that the newer
method will prove to be more economical. The maintenance costs will
be lower, there will be no expensive cost for thinning and clearing
out the unwanted plants like that of the traditional system, and
the recreation area is usable immediately in a natural and harmonious
form. The site is also immediately more hospitable to wildlife.
It is anticipated that the total cost of the new method will be
well under that of the traditional technique within six to eight
[Editor's note: Anyone
involved in public planting will recognise the difficulty of getting
funded for maintenance versus the relative ease of raising money
for the glamour of a new park planting, which gives this technique
an immediate appeal.]
to Table of Contents