what will grow under hemlocks, zone 4?

jmsmith(z4, z6 mich)January 24, 2005

We have a place in the north woods of Michigan and I am looking for something that will grow under hemlocks. Seems to be something poisonous from their needles (Ah, Hamlet) and everything I've tried has croaked within the drip line.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

Very likely true that they are poisoning the soil but the year round shade must be a factor also. I wish you had listed the failed plants. There are plants for zone 4 that may not do well for me. I am thinking of Mahonia repens and the little groundcover Cornus native to northern woodlands.
Have you tried Sanguinaria, Pipsissiwa, Hepatica, Anemone, Lily of the valley (American or the common type, Ferns,Asarum europaeum, Gaultheria, Michellia (partridgeberry)? Have you considered raking up everything to allow for moss to invade? Let us know.
Many of the plants I suggest really take advantage of the early Spring leafless period and then stay green or die down. But some others may do okay with year-round shade.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The phenomena is called allelopathy, a chemical process that a plant uses to keep other plants from growing too close to it. Here in Z5, the black walnut is the most notorious for controlling its space through this "poisoning" of soil adjacent to the tree. Hope that is of at least a little help...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hemlock the evergreen isn't the same hemlock they make the poison from. Deep shade and acid soil is what's keeping things from growing under it.
Trim the lower branches so light can get under there. Sweeten the soil a bit but not so much you stress the tree. Lot of little zone 4 creepers will grow under it.

Pachysandra, vinca, lily of the valley, partridge berry all grow fine. I'm sure I'll think of others when the snow finally melts here.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cstaas(z5 MA)

I have a row of old tall hemlocks at the new house and so far can grow a variety of shade plants; hosta, pulmonaria, lamiums, bleeding heart. Sweet woodruff didnt' do well. The hemlocks here were limbed up too much, but it does get more filtered light. I'm not a big waterer either, and it's only been two years for this garden. But so far things seem to be thriving and growing well each year. I'll post a link to my photo album, but you'll have to poke around a bit to find the shade garden pics. mixed in. I don't know yet how to post just one picture!

Here is a link that might be useful: garden beds

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 8:26AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Advice/Suggestions for front of house
Hello all. I have been searching the internet and this...
Shade Gardening in Southern CA
Greetings everyone! I'm rather new to gardening. I...
Flower suggestions for the front of my home
I would like to grow flowers in my front yard, but...
asm198 - Zone 6a (MO)
Alternative for Drift Roses?
I love drift roses, which are essentially dwarf, bushy...
Zone 10b: Dog Friendly Ground Cover in the Shade
I am considering replacing our front lawn (in a gated,...
Sponsored Products
Vintner's Dolomite Dish - Set of 4
| Dot & Bo
42W 120V T4 GX24q-4 Triple Tube CFL 2700K Bulb by SATCO Lighting
$16.99 | Lumens
Jesper 100 Pro X Office Set 4 - Cherry
Beyond Stores
Area Rug: Carahue Tea Leaves 4' x 5' 5"
$84.97 | Home Depot
Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
$70.00 | Horchow
20-LED Exit Sign Bulb
Super Bright LEDs
Portrait´┐Ż Rectangular: 5 Ft. 4 In. x 7 Ft. 8 In. Kid Essentials - Teen Area Rug
$255.95 | Bellacor
Chintaly Jade Z Frame Dining Side Chairs - Set of 4 - CTY1249
$572.88 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™