Shrubs and Trees for Shady areas

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Harry, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. Harry

    Harry Member

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    Privacy planting is needed in a shady area. The ambiant light is actually pretty good, but virtually no sunshine is getting to this area because it is the North side of the house which shadows the area. Ironically, because of the good ambiant light, shade is most apparent when the sun is out.

    I would like to put in a backdrop of evergreen as the first step. Water is not an issue, fortunately. At fourteen feet, the screening would be achieved so am looking for things that will provide that height and proportionate width (i.e. not narrow).

    I have done some googling around and the leading candidates are Laurels. English, but I fear it is too aggressive and maintenance heavy (slope and pruning challenges). Russian laurel is a contender (prunus schipkaensis?). Others are slow growers (I am too old and impatient)-hemlock, cedar or too narrow in habit. I am open to doing a tapestry of several different trees.

    My shovel and checkbook await your reply.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Bamboo.
     
  3. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I don't think hemlocks are that slow - I have a small Gentsch White that I, with limited space, am looking at with a bit of alarm. And the actual tree types... a row of young hemlock trees, to be thinned as they grow, shouldn't take that long.

    Did you consider Yews to be too slow, too narrow, or both? Buying bigger and avoiding the columnar types might ameliorate this. Boxwood? Again, the size at which you buy is perhaps the issue. If you are cost-conscious at all, poke around the opportunities to buy/salvage big old bushes that others are removing - Yews and Boxes both can be renovation-pruned.

    How about Rhodos?

    Do you need to be screened all year-round? If not, some deciduous shrubs - Sambucus nigra Variegata is my favourite for this application - grow fast in those conditions. I have one on the northeast face of my house that easily reached 14 feet within a couple of years; you can train them to grow to whatever shape you want.
     
  4. Harry

    Harry Member

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    Thank you for offering these candidates. I like your idea of planting and then thinning over time. No, I do not need an absolute year-round wall. So your deciduous recommendation is appreciated. I have found a few web sites that speak to the question, as well. So,I have a lot of research to do.

    Today, I bought a very large Hinoki (close to ten feet) that is in a pot that could be used for a hot tub-- or a dwelling if turned upside down. I am not sure what the light requirements are, but it may be used in the screening project. I was fortunate to find this at a nursery for a very good price as the manager was eager to get this a good home as it had been around a while.

    I also stumbled across a good size paper bark maple. I have long coveted these and just went overboard and bought it. I am not sure where I will use it, but it was love at first sight. Sounds silly, but I was just taken with it. My son, who is a little garener at 11, also thought it was grand. So we just did it.

    I am not sure why I am telling you this other than being so excited that I can hardly stand it.

    Enuf. Thanks, again.

    Harry
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    That Sambucus is properly 'Marginata'. Saw some nice Fargesia (hardy clumping) bamboos at Seasons Plants & Gifts today, on 35th near Fremont. Used to be called Piriformis.
     
  6. Harry

    Harry Member

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    Thanks, Ron. I briefly read through many of your replies and am impressed with your apparent depth of knowledge. Could you recommend a book or website that allows the relative novice to profile trees and shrubs by a number of factors including light, soil and water conditions, size, function (screen, ornamental, focal point, ground cover, etc.) and of course, Zone.

    Thanks.
     
  7. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sorry, Ron, having seen 'Variegata' on the plant tag I am having trouble erasing it from my brain - I know you've corrected me on this before.

    Harry, I hugely enjoy your account of your nursery impulse buys - having built up a rather monumental collection using precisely that buying strategy I can entirely sympathize, and I have a daughter who is also an "enabler" so to speak. In my more lucid moments I am a proponent of designing your garden by identifying the spot first (and its conditions) and choosing the plant accordingly, but chosing plant first and spot later can make garden design much more of an adventure :-)

    Having said that, the people at the nurseries can be your best friends in that at the good ones, they know their stuff and they know local conditions.

    The Hinoki will be best in sun, especially if it has any gold colour that you want to preserve, so if you can plant it far enough away from the house that it catches at least summer sun it may do OK. I've been trying to figure out that type of growing area for years in my front yard - almost full shade from September to May, full sun May to September as the shadow of the house grows longer and shorter.

    I know Ron knows his books better than I do, and I don't have a good shrub book in any case, but I have just acquired Adrian Bloom's wonderful book Gardening with Conifers, which makes this particular shrub family very accessible (and tempting).
     
  8. Harry

    Harry Member

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    This is just a marvelous opportunity to share info and enthusiasm. What a find.
    I think I need to take some time to select the sites for these specimens. Thanks for the ideas. I can think of no better compulsion than gardening, but agree that I must take a studied approach and choose plants for locations. But sometimes. . .

    Be well,

    Harry
     
  9. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You can go in with some Japanese Maples.
    I've seen it done for koi pond entranceways
    that did not have any filtered sunlight. You
    can use most any of the green yatsubusa
    (dwarf) forms. You can go with others such
    as Mama, Wou nishiki, Shishigashira, Tana,
    Tsukushigata, Filigree, Versicolor and Orido
    nishiki to name a few to give you a variety of
    textures and shapes in shaded areas with little
    to no sun as long as there is ample ambient
    light for these trees to color up but you may
    not ever see real good Fall color. You can
    grow the Paperbark Maple in this setting but
    this Maple may outgrow the 14' barrier in
    time. I have no problems having Hemlocks
    in this setting. For us to grow them at this
    location that is exactly the setting we almost
    have to have. Grown in sun right here they
    will fry to a crisp on us.

    Harry, go out and buy a Western Garden
    Book and read it as that book will be one
    of your main resources on plants for years
    to come. Go out and look at various
    nurseries, see a plant that you like, write
    down the name and then go to the book
    and read up on any limitations the plant
    may have to grow in your area.

    Jim
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sometimes you can find the Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK in a special durable vinyl(?) cover which is a nice idea. As far as pleasing border construction and other general planting design tips goes locally written GARDEN DESIGN ILLUSTRATED (Timber Press) is a classic.
     

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