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Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, April 11, 2023 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

 Tidy peashrub has great potential for xeric landscape designs

Contributed by Ross Shrigley and Bev Shaw with Plant Select®  

Over the last couple of years, have you thought of the potential beauty and peace of mind your yard has to offer? Is there space that needs a little something to make it feel like a true retreat? Plant Select® has the perfect for 2023. Tidy peashrub (Caragana microphylla ‘Tidy’) is an elegant vase shaped shrub or small tree that offers year-round interest. It’s airy enough to see through, yet robust enough to give a feeling of enclosure while relaxing in the open. There are even little tiny thorns on the new woody stems that are almost invisible to see, but recognizable to the touch. They won’t prevent the letter carrier from walking through your yard, but maybe a few tiny thorns can make one feel like they have some added protection.  

The year-round beauty of Tidy peashrub is the reason everyone will enjoy this plant. Masses of small yellow pea shaped flowers bloom throughout the caramel branches among the small emerald green leaves in May and June. Honey bees occasionally visit the flowers, but Tidy never seems to go to seed. There are no seed pods to sweep up in the fall and the small leaflets just blow away. Nor does the plant sucker hence, the name “Tidy.” It’s a perfect new high-desert style of landscape plant that requires very little maintenance. After it is established, Tidy does not need any supplemental water. If you have begun reclaiming your yard from areas of weed barrier material and gravel, where the soil has been compacted and starved of nutrients, Tidy is the perfect shrub or small tree for those areas. It can be planted in almost any terrible soilif it’s not a bogand it will thrive. Tidy can rebuild soil through the impressive nitrogen fixing capabilities in its root zone!   

In the winter, the larger, more mature amber colored branches are showy and smooth to the touch. They offer a visually textural appearance with elongated horizontal lenticels pores for gas exchange that make this plant unique. Cold hardy to -30°F, Tidy can thrive at high elevations such as in Crested Butte, at an elevation of 8,909 feet. The versatility and design aspects of the plant have yet to truly be discovered in the intermountain region. It is not a plant to put in lawns unnecessary amounts of wateror near hostas too much shade. It prefers full to part sun. Tidy will look great with tasteful gravel mulch of ½” or smaller or you can even use crusher fines and no weed barrier cloth. Imagine using a USDA zone 4 mesquite tree in Colorado landscapes, and that is the style that Tidy will suggest. Great companion plants are agaves, grasses, red yuccas, manzanitas and hyssops. We will discover more, when Tidy grows in popularity and is placed in different landscape settings.   

Tidy is readily available at independent garden centers and wholesale nurseries throughout the intermountain region! Discover a new place to plant one in your yard today

Explore to learn more. 

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:
Green Industry Field Day
Lifescape Colorado receives Gold ELITE Award


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