Shrubs for shaded hill

harebelle(z6a NY)April 8, 2005


I'm trying to find ideas for shrubs that can tolerate life on a dusty west-facing slope (the 'soil' is dust, not the air), in mostly dappled shade but for sunset, when they'd get a straight shot of hot, setting sun? The slope is infested with ground-digger wasps, who don't seem to like planted areas. I'd sheet compost to avoid digging into the little *beeps'* nests, and plant after the compost has cooked down. So the dust would become arable, but lighting remains the same. The trees providing that shade are tamaracks (messy things that came with the place). And the strongest winds lash in from the west. Any suggestions, pretty please?

Thank you for any advice or recommends!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gottagarden(z5 western NY)

What are you looking for? Evergreens? flowering shrubs? privacy? low cost? low maintenance? etc. Unfortunately, one plant doesn't do it all. Are deer or other critters a problem? How big is the area, how many shrubs. Do you look at it out your window, or is it out of the way.?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 6:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harebelle(z6a NY)

Hello, gottagarden,

I wasn't looking for ONE all-purpose plant, simply suggestions for the conditions described. Privacy is not an issue. I would prefer a 'natural' look, as I've already about two dozen gardens and am unable to extend free-time hours. Deer are not a problem. The area is about ten meters length, and the entire slope down, about 6 meters - it's a steep slope. The only 'critters' that are a problem are the aforementioned wasps. It doesn't matter what I WANT, it's what will SURVIVE there. But I want to avoid invasives! I was surprised when the plant order form for the local soil & water conservation came--most of the plants are listed NYS invasives!

You've got yourself a property similar to mine, although larger-I've got but six acres here! 3/4 acre pond, lots of mature trees, and it's lovely. But the former owners had made it all into a giant mowed LAWN, which I'm diligently trying to replace with gardens. I think that grass does have a place. That place is in the pathways between gardens. And the wasps dig their nasty nests in the lawns, but won't in the beds. That's why I'd like to develop this slope. More because of the stinging *beeps* than anything else!

Thanks for giving my query a look!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Probably nothing new here, but with an interest to wildlife:
butterfly bush, siberian pea shrub, barberry (but it's thorny, potentially spreads too much), witch hazel, euonymous, hydrangea ( if in the shade won't need too much water), holly, spicebush (lindera), pieris, yew, viburnums, and my new favorite, serviceberry (amelanchier). All will do okay with part sun, and average rainfall. (of course they need water while establishing.)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 7:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harebelle(z6a NY)

Oh! You have super ideas! You're doing well with serviceberry, then? That, spicebush, hydrangea and witch hazel would be perfect. Lots of birds here, including hummingbirds who'll buzz right over my head as I work in that area. A solid sheet compost ought to get the area in good form for later planting. Thanks, gottagarden, I really appreciate this!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 12:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Be careful with the sheet composting. Piled too high, and it will just run right straight down the hill with the first good rain. Those are nasty places to try soil improvement. In a similar spot, I've gone mostly with daylilies since they survive without any fancy soil preparation. The shrubs are at the top of the hill - a few tough roses, some bayberry, and an amelanchier seedling.

As you are finding out, there is a definite upper limit to maintainable garden. Lawn is much, much easier :-)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harebelle(z6a NY)

Good point about the slope! But I'll have a low wall to hold the compost in place. And daylilies all around the area would be mighty nice. I'll skip the lawn, thanks-there's still 4 of 6 acres still in lawn, and it's just too expensive to maintain. I'll let the grass stay in the nice sunny spots where it already surrounds several gardens. There's something about the aroma of freshly mowed grass...I checked your web-site, it's enticing!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had success with pieris, rhododendrons and mountain laurel in the shade. And all look pretty natural in our environment.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harebelle(z6a NY)

Mountain laurel is a favorite, but I wasn't sure how it'd do in that particular spot, with the wind exposure and the burning summer sunsets. Rhododendron, same thing. I am making a grouping of mountain laurel in a different area, also on a slope, but the soil is better and there is some protection from the winds and the hot late afternoon sun. And no stinging nasties there, either. Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 8:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Hooti(z5 NY)

Hi All,

I was going to point out that many native shrubs are adapted to part shade, because they form an understory of mid-story in woodlands - But I see so many have suggested some great native shrubs. I am glad to hear people's success stories of the same.

Great Laurel (which is in the Rhododendron genus) and Mountain Laurel (as suggested above) are part shade tolerant but I am unsure myself how much wind they will take. My book stays they are native to Main and Nova Scotia which are even colder than here but I havent much experience. Of course, it depends on if you obtain true natives or cultivars. I am growing them from seed this year and would like to use the Great Laurel as a screen between my garden and railroad tracks (after some years in a nursery bed) but I have the same concern about the wind which howls along the tracks.

There are two native hydrangeas that would be more adaptable and tolerant than hybrids and cultivars. I am growing the Oak Leafed from seed and the picture in the New England Wildflower Society catalogue is really beautiful. There are others even more tolerant than the Oak Leafed.

A really easy to grow native shrub is called Summer Sweet. There is a description of all of these, as well as pictures, at the link below. I think seed Orders are closed for the year, and it sounds like you want something sooner, but it will give you great ideas for shrubs adapted to this area that would help you to be "in tune" with the enviroment also.


Here is a link that might be useful: NEWS Catalogue

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 2:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harebelle(z6a NY)

The Oak leaf hydrangea might be a good choice, but I am concerned about the dusty soil, wind, and late hot sun. I do have pieris, which is a lovely plant. Summer sweet (clethra alnifolia) would be, I think, more suited to the wet soil near the pond. Not so good under the tamaracks. But I do need a heap of good plants for the pond area, and think that summer sweet would be striking along the drainage stream, and perhaps along the creek that divides our property from our neighbour's. Lots of great places for great plants! I'm thrilled to have all these ideas. If something won't work in one spot, I can always tuck it in somewhere else.

Laurette, what a terrific site that is! It's bookmarked for future reference-I'll use it often.

Many heartfelt thanks to everyone!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 12:01AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
ID this Critter?
These are showing up on my Joe Pye Weed in the early...
ID Critter photo
Oops, need more coffee.
Does anyone have Dracunculus vulgaris? (Dragon Lily)?
I'm wondering if it's going to have survived this intensely...
What do you do to keep the deer from nibbling your plants?
A gal in our garden club has had a horrible time with...
crepe myrtle trees
I recently moved to northern NY and I'm trying to grow...
Sponsored Products
Live Baby Lilac Shrub
$16.99 | zulily
15381 Low Voltage MR16 Accent Landscape Light
LBC Lighting
Kichler Architectural Bronze 7" Wide Landscape Accent Light
Lamps Plus
Ango | Heaven Floor Lamp
Decorative Hammered Roof Path Light by Kichler
$134.00 | Lumens
Solar Garden Spotlight
$79.50 | FRONTGATE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™