Tip for growing new hardwood trees under existing canopy?
I am currently in the process of restoring our 1/4 acre backyard habitat. We have ripped out MANY invasive bush honeysuckle and the land is finally ready for some spring tree plantings! Existing stands (what's left) include elm and a few yellowwood, plus understory of viburnum and dogwood.
The plot is in Central Indiana on the north side of the property. It is heavy clay with poor drainage in spring. Partial sun would be "at best" during summer months when the canopy has filled out. I already have planned understory of pawpaw, wild plum, and american hazelnut; however I really want to plant a swamp white oak or white oak, as well as possibly an eastern hemlock or white pine for winter color. Sugar Maple was a thought also but not sure I want to deal with root system.
Are there any tricks to establishing hardwoods under mature canopy? My fear is that I will may good money for 4-6ft trees and then lose them due to lack of sunlight before they are big enough to reach the tops!