Woodland Dilema

jimbobfeeny(5a IN)May 17, 2012

I posted a message earlier in the year about my "high PH" problem in a woodland. Well, I didn't seem to get much response, so I thought I'd try a different approach.

The problem isn't really the PH; it's only about 6.7 or so. The soil is black, rich, loose, well-drained, moist soil - Seems to be the epitome of perfect woodland soil. I've planted quite a few things that seem to be doing well so far (a couple spruces, some viburnums, purplel-flowered raspberry, scarlet elder, and others) as well as a few things I probably shouldn't have planted (I splurged on a 'boursault' rhododendron and some pinxterbloom azaleas, which I planted in carefully prepped ground with peat moss and coarse sand). My problem now is the weeds. I'm almost scared to pull them all, because the creek floods from time to time, and I don't want too much erosion. Any way to keep the weeds at bay while plantings get established, yet not eradicate them entirely(at this point)? It's not really "weeds", just mostly some kind of grass. Doesn't really look like typical lawn grass, it's got fairly wide blades. The area is in semi-shade under ash, hackberry, a few elms, and mullberries. I've planted some saplings to eventually replace the mulberries and ash (They are dying off one by one).

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You may have some carex plants or luzula. Try researching those and see if they look like what you have. I, personally, have fallen in love with most of the native Carex, especially the one called seersucker sedge. Non-native ones are also in the trade.

As for the PH, many woodland plants like acidic soil, but there are some that grow in lime type areas. I cannot grow those as I refuse to "change" my soil ... may put a piece of rock or concrete next to a plant, but that is all. Lazy, I know.

Good luck with your woodland.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:10AM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Just thought I'd try to load a photo of my "garden" (Read "wet woodland overgrown with weeds").

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:42PM
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Oakleaf hydrangea would like your woods, but deer like it too.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 12:48PM
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wood chips over cardboard will smother the weeds (best to cut down the weeds so cardboard lays flatter, but can be stopped down -- if rainy will help hold cardboard down until you get the wood chips spread on top)

have to get all the weed seeds covered so none blow in as seeds will root in decomposing wood chips

walk the woods to patrol any seedlings that sprout

We're doing that in part of our backyard right now. If you don't have enough wood chips you can also use used coffee grounds or composted stable manure topped with wood chips.

**tree trimming companies may deliver for free or a small fee. Spread out a tarp for them to dump onto and keep the pile covered until spread. Wet chips are heavier. We've done it both ways.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:52PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Finally decided on a woodland type - Limestone-rich cove forest. We don't really have "cove forests" around here, but this spot is fairly protected, and it stays moist all year (except this year!). So, I have ordered a bunch of plants (some, I transplanted from around here)


-Sugar Maple


-Yellow Buckeye

-Mountain Silverbell

-Fraser Magnolia (that was a hard one to locate)

-Umbrella magnolia

-Flowering Dogwood


For shrubs, I've found:

-American bladdernut

-Spicebush (common around here anyways)

The forest floor appears to be the most diverse. Most of the plants from the Limestone-rich Appalachian Cove Forests grow around here anyways, and the ones that don't look fairly simple to grow. I've ordered tons of wildflowers, ferns, and sedges - All I've got right now is a solid cover of bur sedge, woodland ryegrass, and some annoying plant with sticky burs on it. Should be a different picture 5 to 10 years from now!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 4:22PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

What a wonderful piece of property! Your plan sounds marvelous. Keep pictures coming as you plant!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:15PM
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