Help needed with planting a berm in the shade

jmhjghMay 16, 2006

I am looking for ideas on what to plant on a berm that is roughly 100' long x 8' wide x 4-5' tall. This berm is near existing Norway pines and is shaded. I have planted another 30 pines on the top, but I would like some type of ground cover or flowers to plant (by seed hopefully). The berm is located on one side of our lot near Minneapolis, Mn. The berm is a dirt/sand mix from excavating an addition (probably 8-10" black dirt over sand. Underlying soil is sand.

Thanks for any ideas you can share,


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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Jim, allow me to express some candor here. Once you planted white pine, you've precluded anything else from being planted beneath them.

I don't care what anyone else may say here; Pines grow especially fast and whatever filtered light does trickle down to your berm will soon be snuffed out.

Why do folks build these contrived berms in the first place? Privacy can be achieved in a more natural way with better use of plants (without a I've yet to see one that I EVER LIKED).

Sorry for the Minnesota ice, but if I can stop one more homeowner from purusing such a misguided landscaping approach, the world will be a better place.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 2:15PM
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Thanks for the reply. To answer your question, the berm exists because money was saved by not hauling all of my addition excavation off-site. Let's assume that I moved the newly planted pines when they were bigger, and wanted to plant ground cover of some kind. What would be some suggestions?

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 5:09PM
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Hello Jeff,
Trees or no trees I think that it will be a while before the pines are giant sized enough to shade out the understory but in the meantime you can spread some native type seeds.
Here is a link to an outfit in Minnesota of a seed mix for a shady woodland. However check out the others as well as this may not be right at this moment in the growth of your berm. They have alot of possibilities.

Also (I really do not like pines apart from bonsai) if you find that the trees are acceptable you can still plant on the margins where sun occurs and create a natural type succession of prairie into shrub into deep forest. You could also fell some of the trees when they are older and open up the inside of the forest and leave the fallen trunks for wildlife . . . I think interacting with what you are doing looks interesting and with the knowledge provided by birdsong maybe you can allay some of the impact of a dense forest and yet have some dense forest??
Prairie Moon-shady seed mix

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 11:14PM
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Thanks for the information. I will call them to discuss some options. The local nursery's were not of much help.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 9:18AM
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