Project Help

veryblessed(6)April 18, 2012

Hello, I am currently working on an area in the front of our home. I would guess that it is roughly � of an acre. This area has several larger trees and for the most part I would consider shade to filtered sunlight. I would think that all that would work there for me would be hemlocks? I know in my neck of the woods in Kentucky the wild hemlocks grow in sometimes pretty deep shade on the rock cliffs.

Anyway, back to my project we have constructed 5 planting areas, somewhat raised, that I call islands for lack of a better word, they are all surrounded by grass pathways. These areas have been fortified with composted manure from a dairy farm as well as rotted sawdust from our sawmills. I would estimate that there is going to be between 3,000 � 5,000 feet of planting area. I also have to get some hardscape added in, rocks, planters etc. Most of this area will be used to house our ever growing Hosta and shade plant collection. But I really want some conifers for winter interest and textural differences.

As I said above I think about the only conifer that would do well in this light would be Tsuga, please correct me if I am wrong. I am open to any suggestions. Since I have the green grass in the paths I am leaning toward off colors for the conifers. Yellows, whites, blues etc...

I saw a picture the other day on the forum of the canadensis 'Gentsch White' and really liked the look of that. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will try to get a picture of my area posted later. I am at work and my pictures are at home.

I would appreciate any suggestions you can give me, I am thinking of 3 � 4 focal plants and maybe a few smaller, dwarf weepers worked in here and there.

And the million dollar question is where I get them. Does anyone know of a conifer dealer in Kentucky? When I did a forum search it turned up a few mail order sources but I would rather buy them in larger sizes if possible, but I guess I will take what I can get.

I read often but rarely post, I have gained a great deal of knowledge and information from all of the postings. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated!



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j, i think no one's responded yet, because if you peruse this website you already have enough knowledge to proceed. i'd start at your local nurseries and lay out circles of what you like on paper based on eventual sizes. i know most people poo poo the home depots and loews, but it won't hurt to look, especially with the area you're dealing with. enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: go nuts!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

I have never used this nursery but saved the link since it's not too far from me and they have some larger conifers, but check them out to see if you can find any info about them Reminiscent in Ky. Click on shop online and then the catalog. You could maybe pick up a few larger ones and combine the rest with smaller ones from online nurseries. Unfortunately most of the conifers they carry are Picea, although they have some others. I think once everyone sees a photo you may find out you can have more than you might be thinking.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 2:28PM
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@mmajicmann Thanks for your reply and your suggestions! I do want to get it all on paper for spacing needs as well as a plan to get Dripworks to help me with a drip watering system.

@chohio - Florence is only a couple of hours from me and they look like they have a pretty good selection. That one did not come up for me when I did a google search.

Thanks again both of you!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:19PM
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no problem... gave you wrong link before. and like cher says, gotta think you at least get partial sun.

Here is a link that might be useful: online nursery reviews

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:59PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

conifers do NOT NEED IRRIGATION ....

they need to be properly water until FULLY ESTABLISHED ... which should be about 2 years at most ... and after that.. they need NOTHING.. like any other tree within 100 miles of you ...

and mixing irrigation for perennials/annuals.. will harm a conifer ... its simply too much water ... not that you cant irrigate the other stuff in the same bed.. but dont add a dripper to a tree ...

i am sorry .. but all your words.. simply dont work for me.. i need some pix.. to really get a grasp of what we are talking about ... link below on how to do that ...

at least 50% of my collection .... came mail order.. at proper planting time ... and there have been many posts about favored sellers ...

do you know what landscape paint is ... it a can of spray paint.. that paints down.. it is a good way.. to 'see' what you are thinking about.. and when the grass is mowed.. it goes away ...

and.. i think there is a landscape forum ... which might help you define your overall plan ...

last thing... almost all size estimates are at 10 years.. divide any number by ten.. and you get an annual growth rate ... and being trees.. they will grow at that growth rate.. for the rest of your life.. and the grandkids life ... so plan accordingly as far as 'fitting' something in .. and i would prefer that you grow something that makes your toes curl for 10 years.. and you get rid of it.. rather than to buy some plain old piece of trash.. just because it will fit ... life is too short to be toe-curl-less ... lol


Here is a link that might be useful: how to post pix

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:42PM
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mmajicmann thanks again, you had me scratching my head trying to figure out what carnivorous plants had to do with conifers, lol but then again it dosent take much to confuse me.

Ken thanks for your reply! I think i can get a set up that will allow me to bypass the tree once it has become established. I went through many cans of that very paint when roughing this area in last fall. I agree on the words and was just getting ready to look up how to post pictures when i saw your reply. I am probably going to have to rely on mail order (as i do for hosta) simply because i dont think I can find the ones i want locally. I would rather have a nice small tree than a larger ok tree. I am going to check ot the one nursery that Cher told me about and research the forum for other ones...enough words here are a couple of pictures. I apologize for their quality in advance the sun was not helping me and i hard a hard time getting the angle I wanted. These were from a couple of weeks ago.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 5:20PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Nice area to develop. I would open up that area for some sun loving conifers. Most will get by on 6 hours of sun a day. Scope it out and see what is possible. You might be surprised what the removal of just a few trees can do to provide an abundance of sun light for a given area.

To many Tsuga's and shade loving plants can lead to dulls-ville.

Regardless of your decision get your plans on paper.

Go to the nursery of your choice. If they buy wholesale from Iseli, Buchholtz and a few other big name growers that is a plus. Tell them you are a novice and would appreciate their help in recommending a few plants to get you started. Start with focal point conifers in your islands. Depending upon island size 1-2 should be sufficient. With those in place build around them giving careful consideration to color and size of your companion plants.

First year buy what you can afford from them. This establishes a re pour and they know you are serious. That fall before they order next springs shipment order again what you can afford and have them piggy back your order onto yours. Then you hit them with the big kahuna. Ask them if they would consider giving you a discount in return for you buying all your plants from them. Make sure they again are aware of the scope of your project which should take a few years to complete depending upon the rarity and availability of the plants you want.

Give it a try. No business man would turn down this offer. They still make plenty even at a discount. It worked for me.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Dave I know what you mean about being dull, I dont want all green. I love what you have done with your gardens and the different colors, shapes, sizes ect. There are a few trees I can take out, I think, to let some more sun in on some of the beds for something other than Tsugas. Thanks agin for your input and purchasing ideas I will give them a try!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 6:57PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what kind of trees are those?? .. and i would like to see pix once leafed out ...

and OH MAN!!! what a site ... you are blest ...

forget.. in its entirety.. instant gratification ... of it takes you 5 years.. WHO CARES ...

most conifers.. call 6 hours of sun.. OK ... and that will be the fine line you will be threading ... depending on what happens when they leaf out.. any old pics in that regard ...

all conifers ... have an annual growth rate.. and the biggest problem with reduced sun.. is reduced vigor ... so what might grow 12 inches in sun.. might only push 6 in shade .. and if it does grow 12, once established .. then the sun is OK ... but even if it grows at the slower rate.. who cares ...

the other issue with sun.. is coloration of yellows ... w/o enough sun.. they just dont yellow as well ...

my gut.. tells me you have enough light.. w/o relying only on hemlock and yews ...

pix when leafed out??? now that you mastered pix.. lol


Here is a link that might be useful: intro

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Hey Ken, Thanks. We have only been here two years. When we purchased the house, the area in the pictures was just trees and undergrowth, you could not even walk through it for the wild rose and thorn bushes. Last fall we cleaned out all the underbush and took out several of the smaller weaker trees, and then roughed the beds in and sowed the grass. I wanted to wait until spring to see what it all looked like. So here in another couple of weeks, when they are completely leaved out, I will post some more pictures and will hopefully have a better idea of the amount of sun/shade we will have. I left a few questionable trees, so they can be removed to adjust the light coming in if need be. The trees look somewhat odd beacuse of a terrible ice storm in the area several years ago, many of the trees had limb and top damage. They look a lot like the trees on the Lorax movie lol. They are a mixture of white oak, poplar, and hickory, with a few maple and beech scattered in. I agree it is a long term project, and I want to take my time with it.....think it through. Thanks again, James

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:32PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Hooo-wheee, blessed indeed. Don't limit the Tsuga to just canadensis. Look at heterophylla or caroliniana too. Also Picea abies would do well and maybe the shade would keep it cool enough for Abies balsamea or Chamaecyparis obtusa.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

I am impressed with your description of the area before and what you have accomplished. It's a beautiful setting. Take out those other questionable trees. It will allow some more conifers. I see what you've already done and can already tell this is going to be one beautiful area when you are done with it. If those are the large maples in there, they need to go, they are a gardening nightmare. :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Another vote for getting all questionable trees out now before you have expensive things underneath them.
Those old oaks and hickories don't take kindly to too much in the way of cultivation underneath them, so depending on how you put in the beds and turfgrass I'd be watching for those very late to leaf out.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 6:35AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Add to your list:
Rhododendron/deciduous Azalea (fall color)
Dwarf Japanese maple
Gotta have some foxgloves (Digitalis)
Geranium (Cranesbill selections)
(Hydrangea all) Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'/Hydrangea quercifolia
conifers: Tsuga/Taxus/Sciadopity's verticillata (Bethlehem Nursery online - email for current availability)/Picea orientalis 'Silver Seedling'/I'm not too familiar with Chamaecyparis obtusa's but tj recommends (them/some). Abies balsamea/yes. I don't know about Picea abies, might not get enough light.

Beautiful area to landscape, certainly.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:01AM
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Looks great!... I would love to have that many mature trees in my yard. Unfortunetly, the land I purchaed to build on was all brush. I'm kind of in the oposite of you, I have to select stuff that needs full sun. There are some conifers I wish I could have, but from past experience I know would burn.

Like the others above, I would also clear some of the smaller trees out to give a little more sun and room for some nice rare pines/spruces.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:59AM
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THANKS EVERYONE for your input, suggestions and source recommendations. I have some work to do� once everyone gets leaved out. I will probably go ahead and remove 3 or 4 more trees. I had thought about some rhododendron and deciduous azalea. There are two small Japanese maples that I put in last spring, Autumn Moon and a Full Moon (got mail order). I am going to dig in a research my conifer options with all the information you all have provided me. And maybe try to locate some to get ordered for fall planting. I will post some pictures in a few weeks with my changes and with the trees fully leaved out. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:06AM
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