Functional relationships

what is the difference between a suppressor and a ground cover? Suppressors simply smother out the weeds as does ground cover?
And repellers would be to deter pests of course- good to know w pests!


  • That's kind of what I figured. I guess in trying to have healthy garden beds seeking to have diversity is one of the biggest priorities. Which I believe is the point that you were getting at.

  • I think some of the functions are associated with plant families... umbellifers all seem to have small flowers, which generally attract beneficial insects. legumes are always nitrogen fixers, although you may need to innoculate them with rhizobium first to maximize that relationships. It's a little harder to generalize with annual plant families, but a bit easier with some perennial plant families. Asteraceae (daisy family) tend to have deeper taproots, which can be good as a dynamic accumulator, and Lamiaceae (mint) family have a number of medicinal qualities and are usually aromatic.

    I've found it a bit dangerous to generalize too much using plant families. Plugging in functional relationships by plant family in a design doesn't work out quite often because you have large differences even within subspecies of the same plant. I think it helps to include the plant family as a consideration in choosing the plant, but to also weigh in the specific plant characteristics as well...

  • Another question about functional relationships- are the functional relationships closely related to the plant families? For example, it seems that anything in the allium family would be a repelller. But, as far as the other functions, is this just something that you research with other gardeners, in books and online and build up a list gradually?


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