need native/non-invasive shrub ideas

pieheart(6)May 11, 2008

I have a slope that I want to put some native or at least non-invasive shrubs on. Right now there is creeping juniper, but it's dying and needs to be replaced. I wanted something a bit more interesting than just juniper, but I'm confused as to which shrubs are the better choices.

At first I considered spirea, but after googling I found that it is considered invasive. Then, cotoneaster, again, invasive.

My other requirements: full sun, tolerates strong wind, drought resistant, deer and/or groundhog resistant (if such a thing exists, which I doubt!), and easily located.

Any suggestions or links for further research?


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There is a spiraea native to the Northeast: spiraea alba var. latifolia:
This year the shrubs I've planted include physocarpus opulifolius (very tolerant of extreme light & soil conditions), rhododendron prinophyllum, viburnum lentago, and clethra alnifolia. I wanted to get, but was unable to land at a reasonable price: lindera benzoin and morella pensylvanica. My conditions differ somewhat from yours (moist clay loam, not too much wind), so I couldn't really say whether these would be adaptable to your site, but you might want to check them out.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 7:12PM
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amelanchier, thanks for the suggestions! I saw physocarpus opulifolius today at a nursery and wasn't familiar with it. If I had been I would have bought it for sure, according to what I've just read it tolerates some pretty tough conditions. Except, it's in the rose family and I tend to avoid those plants due to a heavy infestation of Japanese beetles in the summer. Life is too short to be JB hunting several times/day. Last year I went out frequently with my bucket of soapy water, I must have killed thousands by the end of the summer. They especially liked our pole beans (not growing them this year!). But they also liked our potentilla and buddleia, a plant I just learned was invasive. I do deadhead them, so I hope that helps. It's so hard to find shrubs that the deer leave alone, flower, **and** are native.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 7:25PM
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I think the physocarpus opulifolius would do well for you and the JB won't destroy it even if they do eat on it. Other ideas would be Elderberry and Blueberries. Shrubs like the Ninebark and Elderberry would be great at regenerating themselves if anyone were to nibble on them. Both Ninebark and Elderberry are available in some neat cultivar forms to give you some variety.

Do mulch well and keep watered the first year.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:13PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Two lovely native shrubs that would probably fit your requirements are Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) and Myrica pennsylvanica (Northern bayberry). Both would do well in full sun, in a sloping, rocky, windy location, and are drought-tolerant. Bayberry is suckering and will spread, and the female plants make berries that the birds love to eat. The MOBOT database says this about New Jersey Tea "effective as a shrubby ground cover for hard-to-grow areas such as dry rocky slopes and banks".

Not sure if they are deer-resistent, but I just planted some Bayberry in the wild area in the back of my lot, so I'll find out! I purchased seedlings in packs of 10 for $10 - a buck apiece - at the NH Nursery.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 8:10AM
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Another possibility would be the Viburnum rufidulum(Rusty or Southern Blackhaw Viburnum).

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Thanks for all the great ideas! I live in NJ but have never seen a New Jersey tea in a nursery, if you can believe that. I'm going to ask specifically about it the next time I go. I'd like to pick one up and see how it fares, and if it does well maybe a few more.

Bayberry sounds interesting too, I'm going to check that one out too.

Thanks again to everyone who responded.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 10:14PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)


I'm also in New Jersey and interested in native plants. I'm not sure about where you are, but I've had so-so success finding the native plants I want at the local nurseries. I'm linking to a page from the N.J. Native Plant Society that has sources for native plants. From this list I've ordered from Toadshade and have gone to the native plant sale at Bowman's. I'd recommend both. Toadshade last time I looked only offered a few shrubs.
If you're interested in Bowman's act quickly. I just looked and their plant sale ends this weekend and there's not another until fall.

I've also gotten many native plants I've had trouble finding elsewhere from periodic sales the Audubon Society near me has and from other sales by Master Gardeners, Arboretums etc.


-- Lori

Here is a link that might be useful: sources for native plants from N. J. Native Plant Society site

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 11:45AM
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