need ideas for under birch trees

kclynn(z5 KS/MO)April 11, 2002

I crossposted this under trees also but I thought the companion planting forum would be a good place also.

I am needing suggestions. My husband dug out the sod around two clump birch. I was going to add some good topsoil then plant all annuals ie... geranium, petunia, vinca, anyway mostly a mass planting of color.

When at the garden store the lady there who really did seem to be very knowledgable told me I would have trouble getting anything to grow there because of the surface roots of the birch trees. She said maybe a very hardy daylily. There is only the lightest of shade from the the trees as they aren't big enough for much shade.

Although not the look I was going for daylilys may be just fine. I am flexable and would appreciate any other suggestions or comments.

Lynn

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rhoda_dendron(z6 Toronto Cana)

I like the idea of daylillies. For extra colour, try
spacing them a little farther apart and planting tulip
or daffodil bulbs inbetweeen. This will give you two
seasons of colour, and tulips are a classic combination
with the white bark of the birch.

Personally, I haven't had any trouble growing whatever I
like under birches. I have daylillies, ornamental grasses,
hollies, ferns, lily of the valley, irises (under a small
birch - bearded iris) burning bush, and japanese yew.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2002 at 2:14PM
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kclynn(z5 KS/MO)

Thanks Rhoda,

I like daylilies, too. I think I will just go with my original thoughts and see what happens.

Lynn

    Bookmark   April 21, 2002 at 7:08PM
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alanrocks(z6 KY)

I have Camassia, Grape Hyacinth, Fritillaria for early color, then petunias and ageratum "Hawaii Blue" for summer color. No real problems. My tree has been in the ground for 2 years.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2002 at 10:11PM
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pansyjoe(z4 WI)

I have a clump birch in my front yard. I have a rather long bed under it edged in field stone and red wood mulch. I have it planted with hosta and rubeckia, a burning bush shrub. I also have my kids little red wagon turned into a planter with red celosia and yellow strawflowers. An old tin pail planted with red and white impatients. And in the back ground sits an old hand cultivater. Very colorful. I tried to put a picture in but didn't know how. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 8:42PM
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Ron_B

The difficulty develops as the birches grow larger. Soil, climate and exposure will also play a role in how dry it becomes under the trees.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2002 at 2:39PM
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kclynn(z5 KS/MO)

Thanks for all the great ideas. I think I will go with all annuals and try a variety to see what does well. Looks like there is a bit more shade there now that the trees have leafed out. I wonder how impatiens would do? Early morning and late afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2002 at 2:26PM
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Mommagee

I planted a birch in the middle of my garden about five years ago. It's coming down this year because the roots are interfering with the rest of my garden. I've got raised beds surrounding the tree and the roots are starting to lift the boxes. The first couple of years I had all sorts of things planted around it. As the sun moved, the shade changed so that really wasn't a problem. The real problem was the type of birch I'd planted. My husband had gotten it from his brother's property in New Hampshire. These aren't your basic white birch that look good in clusters. This baby was going to be one of those stately 40 footers that grow in New England forests. The last year or two I put some bricks between the roots to balance pots of different varieties of anything I felt would add color to that part of the garden. It really was lovely. But I'm starting to trip on the roots and they're getting into my boxed beds, so down it will come. I like the idea of day lillies. Try some clumps of Stella d'Oro. It seems to bloom all summer. And the folliage should be a nice contrast against the white bark.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2002 at 2:41AM
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merj13

I have a burgundy-leafed birch that has a huge clump of peach-colored daylilies under it. I also have burgundy ornamental grass on the three corners of this bed. Burgundy-veined ajuga runs amok in and around the whole bed. It never has to be weeded and everyone seems very content. The burgundy and peach play beautifully off each other.
Happy Gardening,
Merj

    Bookmark   August 9, 2002 at 9:50PM
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Yitka(Melbourne/Aust)

Hello everybody,I'm new here and know seriously close to nothing about gardening.We have nine most beautifull birch trees hemming our driveway and i noticed that the circles under the trees are gradualy overgrowing with grass.Should I weed it or put mulch there? And could I use pine needles? But you guys are talking about growing flowers there.I am confused.Help!!!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 1:19AM
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Kristixx(5/MI)

hey, KCLynn,

I have a birch tree too, right outside my livingroom windoe. I have all kinds of flowers under it. I have volunteer cosmos, and cleome, which grew especially tall this year, so I will save seed and weed them out next June. I also have brown eyed susan, purple coneflowers, Canadian goldenrod, and assorted other wildflowers. I planted daffodils, which were gorgeous in spring.

Let me know what you decided to plant, and tell whether it was successful.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 4:06PM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

I did the daylillies w/daffs, glads, dahlias, shasta daisies, threadleaf coreopsis, peonies and oriental lillies under my 'Dura-heat' river birches. I planted them all when the trees where put in. I have to rotate years for dividing things so as not to disturb too much of the trees roots at any time. it can be trying working around the roots but a spading fork helps.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 7:18PM
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