Best native for open woods in Kentucky

linrose(6b KY)November 21, 2007

I would like to establish some native azalea plantings in a wooded area that we've been cleaning up and thinning to create a good place for native shrubs and woodland plants. I'd like to use some native azaleas but don't know which ones to choose. The azalea species that are native in our area are:

R. arborescens

R. calendulaceum

R. canescens

R. cumberlandense

R. periclymenoides

R. prinophyllum

along with our native rhodies:

R. catawbiense

R. maximum

R. minus

Ease of culture is probably the top priority. I can reach this area with a hose if need be. I'm incorporating lots of leaf mold into the soil, we've composted chopped leaves there for the past three years, but I haven't yet done a soil test to check pH. Our soil is a well-drained silty loam. I already established some other native shrubs, oak leaf hydrangea, clethra, fothergilla and winterberry as well as some ferns. Finding areas to plant between tree roots is a challenge. The upper story trees which we have limbed up are tulip poplar, black oak, hickory and persimmon with some mid story dogwood.

Also, if you know of good sources for natives east of the Mississippi please suggest some. I've looked at Meadowbrook (We-Du natives), Rare Find, Fern Gully, and Mountain Mist Nursery so far. I have no experience with any of them. Thanks!


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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

It sounds like you are creating a rhododendron & azalea heaven. The only problem is the roots. Rhododendrons and azaleas have shallow roots so they can't compete with other plants roots. They need excellent drainage and acidic soil. Don't forget to mulch them well after you plant them.

R. arborescens*, good choice.
R. calendulaceum*, good choice.
R. canescens*, good choice.
R. cumberlandense*, good choice.
R. periclymenoides, will be slower growing than the others.
R. prinophyllum*, a little harder to grow than the others.

R. catawbiense, good choice.
R. maximum, tolerant of shade, doesn't like too much sun.
R. minus, has small root system, won't compete well.

* indicates also available from Greer Gardens in Eugene, Oregon, if a local source isn't available.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Hyatt's Native Plants Website

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 7:29PM
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Shooting Star has a very good selection of natives as long as you realize that you will be receiving tiny plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shooting Star Nursery

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 8:39AM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

OH, these are wonderful!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 1:25PM
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