Shade that is dry suggestions

ducks4you

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After 3 years both DD's are interested in gardening. pfft
To the north of their 1 car garage is an area that is both full shade and stays pretty dry, due to an overgrown tree that really needs to go, but Not this year. I have tried planting there, but in the summer the plants dry out. Does anybody have any suggestions of ground cover or other perennials that would do well in both Shade and Dryish conditions and can survive in zone 5? Thanks!!!
 

thistlebloom

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A tough dry shade plant is Aegopodium podograria. I gave you the botanical name because it has several common names which are also common names for many unrelated plants.
Bishops weed, Snow on the mountain, Ground elder etc. are some of it's common names.

It comes with a caveat however, it does spread by underground rhizomes and once you have it you will likely always have it.

I planted it in a mixed border and regretted it because it overwhelms the hostas and ferns, but it has never crept out into the lawn.
I think if it's a single planting it works really well for it's application as a no nonsense, hardy ground cover that will grow under pines.Or other trees in deep shade. If it's creeping-ness concerns you it is easily thwarted by an edging.

I transplanted a shrub out of that mixed border into a rough area at the edge of the woods and some of the Aegopodium went with it. It has made a small patch there under the pines and gets zero supplementary water and zero help from me. But it has not become obnoxious either so I let it be.
 

flowerbug

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i'd just mulch it with wood chips and wait until the tree is gone before making a change. the removing of the tree may be a big mess and the change in light along with the water amount changing may mean you want something else there after.

plus having to work around tree roots is not much fun.
 

ducks4you

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Both good thousghts. @thistlebloom , the back yard is unusual in that it has cris-crossing sidewalks and a big rectangle of cement in the middle, plus a sidewalk with a narrow bed that parallels the side of the garage. There are 3 beds contained in cement, and 2 beds edged by but not contained by cement. For future reference do you think that Aegopodium podograria would be contained by a cement border?
@flowerbug, if DD's want to buy the landscape fabric and the wood chips I will suggest that they put that down...much easier than fighting the micro climate there. I planted 1/2 a dozen ferns along the neighbor's west 6 ft fence. They are doing well and we should be able to dig them up when it is time to take down the tree.
Thanks for the suggestions!!! They are really good ones. :hugs:hugs
 

flowerbug

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Both good thousghts. @thistlebloom , the back yard is unusual in that it has cris-crossing sidewalks and a big rectangle of cement in the middle, plus a sidewalk with a narrow bed that parallels the side of the garage. There are 3 beds contained in cement, and 2 beds edged by but not contained by cement. For future reference do you think that Aegopodium podograria would be contained by a cement border?
@flowerbug, if DD's want to buy the landscape fabric and the wood chips I will suggest that they put that down...much easier than fighting the micro climate there. I planted 1/2 a dozen ferns along the neighbor's west 6 ft fence. They are doing well and we should be able to dig them up when it is time to take down the tree.
Thanks for the suggestions!!! They are really good ones. :hugs:hugs
i wouldn't bother with the fabric at first. especially if the tree is going to come down eventually. there's no weed issue there by the sounds of it so nothing to block IMO. after the tree comes down you can do re-evaluate and do something else.
 

flowerbug

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There is a weed issue there.
oh, ok, use cardboard instead until tree is gone. usually will last a year before needing to be replaced, but in a shady spot i can't imagine there being that much weed pressure so perhaps one round of cardboard will do it. :) much cheaper than weed barrier fabric.
 

thistlebloom

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For future reference do you think that Aegopodium podograria would be contained by a cement border?
Absolutely.


There is a weed issue there.
I second skipping the "weed barrier". Cardboard would be a much better temporary solution, and if you're covering it with wood chips go 3" deep.
Not less, and not more than that because tree roots need an air exchange and going a lot deeper results in roots coming to the surface for the air. Keep the chips off the trunk also.

I have an issue with weed barrier. It is a short term solution at best, but doesn't break down so somebody eventually has to deal with it and it's a huge inconvenience. Huge.
Whatever you top it with will capture weed seeds and they will eventually germinate. When they grow they will attach their roots to the weed barrier and when you pull them they will lift the barrier with them. Then you have to cover it all up again or live with that ugly crap being exposed. They are supposedly air and water permeable, but I say they may be, but just barely.

I have a lot of experience working around that stuff that's been in 5, 10 years or more and have developed a real loathing for it. When it's removed you can see how the tree roots have gotten congested and come up just under it's surface. The soil is compacted and ugly because there hasn't been any plant material decaying on the surface and adding humus. Not much of an improvement over the terrible practice of burying plastic to prevent weeds.

Save your money.
 

ducks4you

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All GOOD things to know!! Actually the soil is great bc of YEARS of tree leaves decomposing there. It's the climate issue. The 1 car garage creates full shade. The neighbor's 6 ft tall fence creates full shade. The offending tree AND the fence AND the garage blocks most of the summer rain. When the tree comes down I will look for native shade lovers to put there bc it will be normal Illinois wet forest.
 

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