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Planting under Norway Maple by Spruce

Dry shade

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#1 Piperbill

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 09:54 AM

I have been trying to reduce lawn. First area is under Maple where I have a border of hydrangea. A bed quite nearby with 3 Serviceberry trees with a Spirea in the center, another border with 1 dying and 1 ok Yew with a row of Little Henry Itea in front shaded by a Silver Maple and Littleleaf Linden. It's quite a mishmash. I really want to put in natives, maybe with berries for birds, shrubs, ground cover. I was reading Sunshine Farms catalog but I hesitate to buy a bunch of stuff if it's not going to live. I was looking at Mertensi Virginica, Polystichum acrostichoides, Aster divaricatus, Carex laxiculmis and Ruellia humiliate. A lot of the area has been smothered by leaves, some is still very weak sod.

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#2 Steven Nikkila

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:28 AM

In that situation you need drought tolerance, so throw the Mertensia out. Consider native pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens), red baneberry (Actea rubra), and tellima (Tellima grandiflora).

 

We're talking about your yew dying. More in a minute.



#3 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 10:51 AM

How old is the Maple?



#4 Piperbill

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 11:50 AM

The Maple is old. I've been here 23 yrs and it was full grown as was the Spruce when I moved in. The yews were transplanted from elsewhere and I think that's why 1 is dying. Thanks for suggestions. I will look them up.

#5 Your Letters

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 07:21 PM

I watched your webinar "Improving the Older Garden"  and got some wonderful ideas.  However, I'm still not sure how to deal with my "shade" bed. Mine has 2 huge oaks and a maple. The ground is mainly roots, although I've managed to put some hostas in there. This bed is along the road. Would be nice to improve that area. I guess I could pull all the rocks away that I have bordering it and build it up some more?

Advise if you can.  Thanks.  - D.T. -



#6 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 10:44 PM

You can build the area up - no soil against the tree trunks and I hope you caught Chapter 5 of our Earthwise Soil Prep webinar for the explanation of determining how much of the tree's root zone you will be affecting. If you add soil over an area that's 1/3 or less of the tree's root zone and you guard the other 2/3 from damage you can transform a garden. But you might have unrealistic expectations of the area. With large trees overhead your garden has to be considered the junior partner. That is, plant with the expectation that your  garden will NOT be lush and jam packed. But that doesn't mean it must look thin and poor. Choose your places under the trees to add up to maybe 40% of the space and plant that 40% heavily and with impact. Maybe one central spot has a mass of Japanese painted fern -- good in dryish areas and in some varieties so gray-white in leaf color it looks from a distance like a spotlight in a shady area. And places to right and left of the fern have huge leaf yellow-and-green variegated hostas. Between planted spots leave graceful space in curving-edged chunks or in actual paths with benches or wood sculptures along the way.

I hope this helps!

Janet






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