Do you "underspace" your shrubs/perennials?

ostrich(3a AB)August 27, 2012

Since moving from zone 5 to zone 3 Calgary, I have learned that some shrubs and perennials may not grow to their supposedly full size here in this climate, esp. for those that are just hardy to zone 3. However, the size and spacing descriptions of these shrubs/perennials on their tags often seem to give you their full size in warmer zones with more precipitation. So I am wondering if you tend to "underspace" your shrubs/perennials in anticipation of a smaller mature size? Or do you leave just as much room in between them in case they do grow to their full potential size years later?

Just curious what you all do.... :-) Thanks!

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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I'm never sure how big things are going to get, or if they're going to live, so I would say I underspace woody shrubs that would be difficult to move, and plant less permanent things around them in case they don't get big. And if they do I move the things that can be moved. Which reminds me, I have so much transplanting to do... nooooo.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:28AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I always assume they will grow to full size. If they don't, I can add something later. While I wait, I have lots of things to fill in the spaces with...dahlias, potted fuchsias, annuals, etc. Sometimes I have things grow quite a bit larger than they are supposed to.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 2:13AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I always underestimate the size of things. I thought my golden elder was going to be a shrub. NOT! And that viburnum is way bigger than i thought it would be. Another thing is Hansa, the one i moved several years ago. It has recovered so well from that move that it's about 5 feet high and at least that wide now. It's spilling over on to another bed now and i'm trying to figure out what i can do - build a wall maybe? LOL

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:22PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I just realized I misinterpreted this - no, I don't plant things closer together. I try to plant things further apart than I expect to need, and plant other stuff in between that can be moved later.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 10:14PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Thanks everyone for your input!

I just planted the shrubs (the "backbone") in my new flower beds. I felt like I have spaced them too closely together, but then I have a few things that were really borderline hardy, so they might not get large or survive our Calgary winters.... so I am experimenting a little bit here.

I appreciate your feedback! Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 10:32PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I have a small yard so often I do under space plants (that is plant closer together than I normally would). Also, with some borderline hardy plants I may plant closer together. I figure if by chance they do take off and grow to their full potential, I'll deal with it at that time. I won't move a large shrub but maybe move other plants around it away or trim that shrub quite a bit each year to keep it in bounds.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:19PM
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