Help for difficult spot

loribee2(CA 9)June 7, 2011

On the way to this area....

I've got this eyesore....

My plan is to sheet mulch over this "grass" and create more new beds like I've done in the top photo. However, this area has me concerned because it's a little more problematic.

I have someone coming to remove these two tea trees in the foreground, which were neglected/improperly pruned by the previous owner, I simply can't do anything with them at this point.

My concern about simply removing them, sheet mulching the area and putting in new shrubs is all the competition with the 100' redwoods and this tulip poplar on the city side of the wall. I've got roots running through the area. They aren't so dense that I can't plant between them, but I'm wondering if there are plant selections that would be better than others. This wall is south facing, so sun won't be a problem, just competition for soil.

Any ideas? I'd thought about putting a deck over the area, but I really like the meandering path we've started.

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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

I notice you have italian cypress in the bed on the other side of the path near the house. So I assume you like those.
On the other side of the path you could trace the arc of the path with more italian cypress, creating a screen or alley, and depending on how far away from the path your cypress arc is, you could have planting room for some color such as the geraniums you have near your existing cypresses. I have Geum running through my cypress planting. These cypresses grow fairly quickly. And no offense but I'd want to partly hide that blue shed. And you could use the area behind the cypresses for more storage that couldn't be seen easily. Or it could be a little hideaway with ferns and shade-lovers since I assume the area would now be shaded.
I believe the italian cypresses available now include shorter versions, narrower versions and golden foliage versions so you don't have to just rely on the basic italian cypress.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 12:29PM
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carlasuewho(9B Petaluma N Bay Fog Belt)

Hi Lori,

I had the same problem when I lived in Rohnert Park. The previous owner had planted 14 large trees in the 30 x 45 back yard and never pruned them. All I could grow was moss! Eventually we removed every tree and had the stumps and roots ground. I put up lattice like you did and grew potato vines around the fence perimeter. There were still a lot of tree roots to contend with when I tried to plant but everything made it... from roses and annuals to crepe myrtle shrubs.
I'm not sure what height you would want for the shrubs. Do I see some ivy growing up that city wall? Have you thought about azaleas? They have shallow roots, like the acidity that the redwoods provide and many will flower most of the year.
Your garden is lovely and I'm sure you'll make a great choice!
BTW...I wasn't sweating the rain either but the winds in Petaluma have been hella bad for over a month. Still, the veggies are flourishing. We just need some normal temps now so that fruit can set. Normal...not the 90+ they are predicting for next week!
Best of luck.
Carla

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:03PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Whoa, are they predicting 90? I hadn't seen that, but wouldn't that be typical?

Thanks Carla and @Deep_roots for the suggestions. Carla, I already paid a guy to take out more than 200+ feet of half-dead privet that lined the entire fence line. It really is a pain having to get back to ground zero.

I had considered putting in a few more cypress to balance off the pathway, though I really like the azalea idea--rhododendrons too. We were looking at the area again this morning and are now thinking about putting in a stone border so we can level the slope while also adding a good 6-10" of soil over the top of these roots. I know azaleas and rhododendrons like a raised bed and would companion with the redwoods well. That is really a nice idea. I love the redwoods behind the wall because when I look out my bedroom, I feel like I'm in a cabin in Tahoe. I would love to expand on that woodsy atmosphere. I'll have to double-check their sunlight requirements, as my only concern is that they'll want more shade than the spot provides. Hmmmm, maybe a reason for getting that pergola up sooner than later. LOL

Thanks for the ideas! You two have got me thinking! I know you all would!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:37PM
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carlasuewho(9B Petaluma N Bay Fog Belt)

Lori,

I follow http://www.westernwx.com/sonoma for the forecast because they're the only ones that give me an accurate frost forecast in the spring and fall. I got so tired of weather.com listing the low as say 37 on the front page and then when I'd check the hourly it would say 29 at 5am.

Good thought about the shade for azaleas. There are so many shades of shade. :) I think they need 4-6 hours of sun per day for good flowering. Rhodies can take a little more. You may have enough shade but too much heat next to that concrete wall.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 2:46PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Thanks for the info! And I'd never heard of this weather site. I'll definitely check it out.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 2:53PM
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