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Shade Gardening: Help.......way to many trees

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Forum: Shade GardeningReplies: 4, Views: 98
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Superior, WI
(Zone 4b)

May 9, 2007
9:30 AM

Post #3478828

Not that there could ever be to many trees but there seems to be in my yard. I am having issues with how to plant under evergreen trees. This is something I know nothing about. How do the needles affect the soil, any help would be appreciated. I will post pics later. We just bought this house in feb and the gardens coming up are amazing, and when I heard the yard was full plants I knew I had to have it. Its just those darn trees getting to me. I am trying to make a lawn free, country garden type yard.

I would love some help...Please HELP!!!!
Thank you


Leesburg, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 9, 2007
10:12 AM

Post #3478980


Late last summer we bought into an RV park in Wisc and it is lawn free. Totally pines and oaks.
Obviously, since this is new to me too -- I don't know the how's and why's yet... but I have a lot of shade foliage popping up and all is doing well... and even though there are plenty of pine needles.

Any idea what sort of plants you have?
I'm assuming the previous owner planted appropriate plants -- are there any plants under the pines that you know of?

also -- something to think about... many people use pine needles in their compost... so it should not 'harm' the soil in any way.

Hope this helps a bit


**edited to add the "not" that i forgot

This message was edited May 9, 2007 9:14 AM
Oakton, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 9, 2007
12:59 PM

Post #3479586

meghanrose, what do you mean by country garden? Is that like a cottage garden? I've not heard the term before. But unless you're planning on taking out several of the pines, you might need to think woodland garden.

Have you thought about having an arborist come out and determine which trees are healthy? If you're going to take some out, you might as well take out the ones that are not healthy. What kind of pines do you have? In Virginia, where I live, we have lots of scrub pines. They're weed trees and only last about 40 years -- shorter if other hardwoods block out the sunlight. I've had most of them removed from our property as they were in danger of falling on the house during storms. Since we lived on a wooded lot, some were replaced by hemlocks or broadleafed evergreens that could stand shade.
Garner, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 9, 2007
7:13 PM

Post #3480678

If you want something to replace the lawn in shade, maybe dwarf mondo grass? I have it in deep shade and it fills in nicely.
I haven't seen pine needles affect anything planted under my pines. I have hostas, columbines, toad lilies, ferns, coral bells, and some annual impatiens under mine.
Good luck.
(Zone 9a)

March 11, 2008
4:49 PM

Post #4650714

howdy Meghanrose~
Two sure fire winners are vinca (periwincle) with dark green ovate leaves, it grows 2-3 inches high and spreads about 14-18 inches per plant. Its available in Most nurseries. no mowing, just gowing. you can "propagate" them by grabbinga hand ful of roots (after they are in the ground one year & established ) and shoving them in a bare spot, its a tough, easy plant, sun or shade! I live in 120 degrees in summer to 20 degrees in winter. Lotsa shade, 3 trees in my yard too. The 2nd, obvious, answer is ferns~ as they love acidic soil (I pour coffee grounds on them for fertilizer!) and some will spread low and slow, some different, and there are some colors you can accent with like Hostas. TGGFisk hit the nail too with Toad Lilies which are beautiful and love damp shady places...also are little coleus, foxgloves, sweet William, and forget me nots, all colorful. Most are annuals of the color added plants, but worth the spot digging!
Good luck and a great Spring to you~!

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