How to Landscape With Native Regional Plants for Northeast Arkansas

Overview

Native plants are commonly used in low maintenance landscapes. Because the plants are native, meaning they naturally grow wild in the area they are planted, they require less moisture and fertilizer. However, a natural or native landscape cannot be allowed to grow wild, because it may attract unwanted animals, and you cannot observe the positive attributes of individual plants, such as unique flowers or foliage. In counties in Northeast Arkansas, such as Clay, Green, Randolph and Lawrence Counties located in USDA zone 6, there is a wide range of native plants to choose from while landscaping.

Step 1

Locate an area in the landscape where you would like to plant native plants. The size of the area depends on the available space and the type of plants you would like to plant. For example, shrubs and trees will take more space than groundcover plants or flowering perennials. There are native plants for sun or shade, so there are no restrictions on light requirements. However, most blooming plants will prefer at least 6 hours of direct sun exposure each day. The planting location does not need to be near a water source if you are planting native plants adapted to dry areas. However, all plants will need added moisture at planting time to prevent transplant shock. When planning a planting area, remember that flowing lines look better in a landscape than sharp angles.

Step 2

Choose the native plants that you would like to grow. Ideas for native plants to grow can be found by finding a list of plants native to Northeast Arkansas. Choose plants that are attractive and thrive in the sunlight and moisture conditions you are providing. For example, plants that prefer full sun cannot grow well in shade, and plants that prefer boggy conditions will do poorly in dry soils. Keep in mind that most plant nurseries and garden centers in the area will have a selection of native plants. Strive for a sense of balance when choosing plants. For example, if planting in a front yard, face the house and mentally divide the landscape into two halves. Then, choose the same plants and color combinations for both halves so they will match and create balance.

Step 3

Clear the planting areas of all weeds and loosen soil to a depth of at least 6 inches using a shovel and a hoe. Spread a generous 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the area and work into the top 1 to 2 inches of soil using a hoe. Rake the area smooth. All native plants benefit from organic matter, such as compost, added to the soil.

Step 4

Plant native plants in the soil at the same level they were planted in their previous location, whether it was in a nursery container or in the ground. Plant taller growing plants in the back of the garden and shorter plants, such as groundcovers, in the front of the flower beds where they can be seen. Do not crowd plants, as native plants look their best when spaced properly. Add water to the planting mix when planting to obtain a good soil seal around the roots.

Step 5

Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch over the root base of the native plants to conserve moisture and keep weeds under control.

Things You'll Need

  • Native plants
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Mulch

References

  • University of Arkansas: Choosing Plants
  • University of Arkansas: Plant Database
  • US DOT: State Plant Listings: Arkansas
  • Arkansas Landsape Design Site: Arkansas Native Plants
  • Plant Native: Native Plant List for Arkansas, Louisiana, Eastern Oklahoma and East Texas
Keywords: Northeast Arkansas, Arkansas xeriscape, Native landcape plants

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.