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Selecting tropical ornamental trees for use as hedge plants (Published)

Soft landscape elements play key roles in the built environment. It is usually a combination of hedges, trees, shrubs plantings and turfs that set the tone of the soft landscape and defines the outdoor living space. A study conducted by Palmer (1989) and Smardon (1988) in Syracuse, NY, USA, to assess the preference of a simulated front yard landscaping alternatives with combination of trees, turf, flower beds, shrubs and hedges along the front foot path showed that hedges were the most preferred. (Kendal et. al, 2008). Kumasi as an urban center is made up of several tropical ornamental trees. However, very few hedges have been explored from these trees. With Kumasi as the main setting, this research project therefore sought to explore the selection of candidate tropical ornamental trees for use as hedges. Twenty (20) sample questionnaires were sent out to commercial nurserymen within the metropolis to ascertain trees species available on sale, and hedge plants that were highly patronized. Responses from 15 nurseries concluded that Ixora was the highly patronized hedge plant. An observational study of West-Nhyiaeso, a high-class residential area in the Kumasi Metropolis, also provided names of different tropical trees. A comparative study of the tropical ornamental trees and the physical characteristics of Ixora such as leaf size, crown density, top-down cover, leaf colour, light requirement and drought resistance was then conducted. This was hence used as a selection criterion from which hedges could be chosen. Ten (10) tropical ornamental trees were explored as potential trees for use as hedges as these had similar physical characteristics to that of Ixora. It was recommended that the selected trees be tested as hedges.

Keywords: Preference, explore, hedges, patronize., physical characteristics, potential, tropical tree