British Columbia: Cedar tree roots

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Jane C, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Jane C

    Jane C Member

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    Hi, I have large cedars bordering my property (not mine)on the east side and my gardens below them receive Sun (SW exposure) from Noon onwards. Yet nothing survives there. Could anyone suggest some plantings that are low maintenance and can live in those conditions.
    Jane C
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Cotoneaster
    Mahonia
    Ilex
    Photinia davidiana
     
  3. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    I planted a Kalmia, or mountain laurel, under my parent's cedar one year, and it did great. It had purple flowers.
     
  4. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

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    I have periwinkle under a cedar tree at my place. It was there when I bought the place, and I have never done anything to it including watering it, as it is several hundered feet from my house. It survives well, covers the ground completely including around the trunk of the tree, and has beautiful bluish purplish flowers in the spring
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    . . . but is also a nuisance invasive weed in the region!
     
  6. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

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    All I can say is its remained in place around the cedar tree, and i don't have it anywhere else on my property or growing on surrounding properties. It seems to stay in the shade of the cedar and the grass grows right up to it.
     
  7. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    It is not as bad as it sounds. I would go for Periwinkle. It is a beautiful ground cover. Hopefully it will do well with SW exposure. Just keep an eye on it that it will not spread where is not supposed to.
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  9. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    There is a variegated variety of Vinca minor, which is slower growing & does not (in my experience) become invasive. This being said, variegated varieties can revert to green.

    Please don't add more of these plants locally. It has been part of more than one of our local (Fraser Valley) weed pulls. Not the worst offender out there, but becoming more of a problem as time goes by.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Significant patches of both species of Vinca are seen repeatedly down here. You can be fairly far into the woods and run into a carpet of V. minor in particular. Since it is thought to reproduce only vegetatively in this region, these growths would appear to mark the locations of former human habitations.

    Vashon Island has earned the dubious distinction of being noted as having lots of V. major.
     
  11. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    The article at Daniel's link http://www.invasiveplantcouncilbc.ca/invasive-species-in-the-news/battling-plant-invaders lists English holly (Ilex spp. or Ilex aquifolium) as "Plant that pose significant ecological risks. People should not plant or should remove from their garden if already present" and Periwinkle (Vinca minor and V. major) as "Species gardeners should not plant or swap for their garden".
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Or places where people dumped their garden rubbish. Quite frightening the lengths some people go to, to dump their trash illegally - I often see household junk dumped far from habitation here.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, Ilex aquifolium is an abundant weed here. So abundant that eradication or even control may now be impossible - same as with Hedera hibernica. But there are other species of Ilex used in gardens here, that have not gone wild.

    A few species of Cotoneaster have also become frequent in naturalistic settings (undeveloped land). Photinia davidiana also pops up here and there. And so on. The same ability to tolerate conditions beneath and among conifers in the garden may enable specific plants to do so outside of the garden as well.

    The simplest way to avoid the invasive exotics problem in this instance would be to plant only the two native Mahonia and other native plants seen growing in similar situations elsewhere.
     
  14. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    Kalmia is native to the West. I don't think it's invasive.
     
  15. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Looks like we are left with not much choice since Kalmia is native to the eastern US but not to the West. The plant, including flowers, twigs, and pollen, is also toxic or even poisonous.

    What is left is Oregon Grape (Mahonia) and in fact it is quite a nice choice.

    Plant the The Creeping Oregon-grape (Mahonia repens) so it will spread nicely and will look very well under the trees. Don't forget about regular watering during the first year after planting to help the plants establish. After the first year you can leave the plants on their own but, since it is most likely very dry and hot there under the trees, keep the area mulched with materials that increase soil acidity, like pine needles or oak leaves. Oregon Grape is healthy to people and native fauna. I myself use the berries to make jam sometimes. Please note that Mahonia is invasive outside its native range, too.
     

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  16. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    There are a couple of species native to the West, microphylla being one of them, and the closely related Kalmiopsis, which is from Oregon. I guess if you have animals that are prone to eat them, then they would be a bad choice, but Wikipedia says that they aren't poisonous to cats and dogs, but are to horses, sheep, etc. Mostly browsing grazing animals. Otherwise it's a wonderful choice for our climate, both for flowers and for foliage. Mahonia is also toxic to cattle and grazing animals. But Mahonia jam sounds good; does it need a lot of pectin and sugar, Sundrop?
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Also try Gaultheria shallon and Ribes sanguineum.
     
  18. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    elgordo,
    There is an interesting recipe at http://s158336089.onlinehome.us/OregonGrapeJam/OregonGrapeJam.html . I make my jam a little bit differently, use chopped oranges instead of lemon juice, no water, much less sugar and no additional pectin. I let sugar to dissolve in orange juice, bring the syrup to the boil, add the berries and cook until the jam is thick enough. I leave the seeds and skins in the jam.
    At the bottom of the page there is also a recipe for a oregon grape/ blackberry jam. I have never tried that one but highly recommend blackberry/pear jam (I use Clapp's Favourite pears).
     
  19. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    What a cool page! I love being able to make food out of things readily available from your back yard. Thanks for the link!
     
  20. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    The old cedars at the back of my farm have periwinkle, but also wild Cornus canadensis and wild Dicentra. When they stop blooming, the ferns pop up.
     

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