I have had it!!!

beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)July 27, 2012

I got bitten by a copperhead last weekend in one of my gardens by the house. I reached down under a daylily to pull a weed and he/she got my hand. I have decided to rip out all the floppy herbaceous plants around my house and put in conifers, they can be mulched and I can see around them better than I can my perennials. Plus I like them better than perennial so maybe the snake is being used as an excuse to do what I want to do anyway. The area I want to do this to is along a stone walkway and patio in full sun, so it is fairly hot (especially this summer). Which small conifers will do the best in such a condition? I would love some suggestions of mail order nurseries to get some dwarf conifers from, being that I have exhausted my local nursuries of what they have to offer. Thanks for the help. Lynn

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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

"I have decided to rip out all the floppy herbaceous plants around my house and put in conifers"

Well, that's the spirit which I can't reed enough here at this forum :0)

Lynn, I guess that we have plenty of U.S. experts here who can help you out with the conifers and nurseries you're sutching for.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 5:33PM
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Lol, this has so many twists. The title made me think it was a sun scorch victim loosing off after their last plant burned up. Then your first line made me think you were posting a more terminal message after being bitten by a Copperhead. Then you are bitten once again by the conifer bug.

Great entrance!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 7:27PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)


I don't buy anymore but Coenosium Gardens was always my favorite nursery. You being on the other side of the country I hope others have suggestions to help on shipping costs.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 8:09PM
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There are lots of ACS members in Virginia. You might find them a good resource for conifer source information. It would be worth the membership dues.

I hope you know that Copperheads travel in pairs. Very rarely do you have just one. Also if you see any Blacksnakes or Rat snakes realize that they are natural predators of Copperheads.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 6:15AM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

Well that's enough to make you not ever pull weeds again. Hope you are doing well. Good luck on your conifer search. Do a search here for dwarf conifers and go through Coenosium's website which will show lots of dwarfs to choose from.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 6:40AM
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beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)

Thanks for the responses. I love black snakes even though they have been known to eat my young chickens from time to time. We do not kill snakes even copperheads, usually we just scoop them into a lidded box and take them off our property. I have been meaning to join ACS I will do that today thanks for that reminder.I will check out the Coenosium website too. What do you all think of Rich's Foxwillow Pine Nursery?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 8:05AM
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Kudos Beige-for not reaching for the garden rake to use on those snakes! I hate hearing how people are always killing snakes.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:54AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

beigestonehill, did you have to get treatment for the bite?

When I saw a copperhead on my driveway when I lived in mountainous southwest VA, I got some long sticks and carefully took it far down away from the house (about a mile). Next day I found another, then the next day another! I wouldn't recommend anyone doing this without quite a bit of experience with snakes, tho. Never saw copperheads again, but that doesn't mean they weren't there.

The occasional black snake near my house was easy to handle & almost always placid. One particular 6 footer was around the house for many yrs -- I must've handled it a half-dozen times. It was big enough to hold its own against my cat.

Here in MD now my border-stream has quite a few common water snakes. They sun in the shrubs overhanging the stream & drop into the water when disturbed.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

It seems you are thinking of a conifer planting as always being the tombstone effect, with dense upright shrubs spaced out and bare ground or mulch between. But if you ever have any groundcovering types or leave low branches on any upright forms (this is more impressive than having the crowns perched on bare sticks) then there may again be places for the snakes to hide.

There would still be the advantage that evergreen shrubs are less work than herbaceous perennials. Definitely cover the soil between the conifers with rocks or other protective material, to reduce weeding and soil temperatures. Mulched trees and shrubs grow better.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 2:34PM
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beigestonehill(z 6 /7VA)

Yes beng, I went to the hospital and got the anti venom. I had to spend the night; they gave it to me in three doses. It was the first time I spent the night in a hospital (had my kids at home). Everyone was great but they never let you sleep!. bboy, I am fairly familar with conifers I have probably 35 to 40 on my property already. I have plenty of groundcover types ( mainly Junipers) they are well mulched and hardly ever get weeds in them. Yeah yuck! crowns perched on sticks, not my thing, though I did see a beautiful standard Japanese Red Pine recently. I still would love some suggestions of what conifer besides Junipers can take it fairly hot. I will mulch all my conifers for my sake as well as theirs.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:30PM
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