Under fir trees

pacnwjudy(z8 OR)June 27, 2006

I may be a zone 8. I'm never quite sure.

I have two huge fir trees that, of course, are shady underneath. The put out debris just about all year round. I'm hoping to find an evergreen groundcover--something--for this spot. It's the parking strip under these trees.

I tried ajuga chocolate chip. That didn't work because the plants were quickly buried under needles or those light little brown things in summer. I have a little leaf blower, but I would have to use it every day all year to grow the ajuga.

I tried saxifraga London Pride. It looked good, but still the debris collected in the plant and couldn't be blown off with the blower.

I have one rhododendron in the center. That works pretty well because the debris falls through and I can use the blower to remove it.

At any rate, I'm looking for something for the rest of the area, under one foot, and evergreen. The azalea Hilda Niblett is 1' by 3'. Would that work? Or are there other ideas?


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The area under large conifers tends to be rather dry - all that massive roost system sucking available soil moisture plus the tree canopy deflecting rainwater. I'm surprised the rhody is doing at all well, as they typically resent that type of location without careful and consistent attention. For that reason, I'd look to something other than an azalea to fill the bill.

Two possibilities I'd suggest are workhorses for dry shade and both evergreen: Euphorbia robbiae or Sarcococca humilis. Not the fastest GC's to establish and both have the potential to exceed 1 foot (12-16" is more common for both) but very dependable, hardy for your area and well-adapted to a dry shade situation. Texture and growth habit should be adequate to allow the conifer debris to fall through.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 10:51AM
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