Need Planting Opinion

subgardenerOctober 30, 2009

I wish to plant 3 azalea in my yard but the spot would only be about 8' from a very aggressive river birch. The birch must be close to 15 years old so I figure it will slow down its root growth or even die soon to be replaced by a better behaved tree. The question is whether the azalea could survive till the tree goes. This tree has such aggressive roots that it sent roots up into a pot just resting on the ground. Others in this household have been quite fond of the birch so I can't just remove it.


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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Birch trees are both surface-rooted and host for aphids which secrete a bothersome honeydew that will affect plantings beneath them. You can safely plant near but not under them.

At 15 years, your birch is a mere teenager and could easily live another 50+ years.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 1:53PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Morz8, I don't plant any birches in my garden for that very reason. That 'bothersome honeydew' will get on cars, windows, and siding, and all plants beneath it. It may not happen in other parts of the country though.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 8:08AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Mike, that's a good point, I don't know that they are aphid magnets in other climates too.

That surface rooting habit on most residential size lots can be a heartache though. My mother planted birch (4!) in Longview just a little more than a couple of decades ago and they are causing her all kinds of grief now. She's 83, has damaged sidewalks, compacted beds/sparse lawn, exposed roots just waiting to trip a little old lady :(

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 11:06AM
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