Casual gardener with woodland lot-ideas?

saram_78June 4, 2006

My back property line is a wooded area. Over the past two years we've cleared the woods. There was not much there; dead trees, vines of something (also dead) choking the good trees, undergrowth of nothing but weeds, etc. We now have a view of 2 beautiful, healthy trees that were not in view before, tall grasses that deer love to walk through and a promising area for gardening! We've weed whacked and sprayed Round Up for the budding weeds but would LOVE ideas of what we can grow or do with the area that would make it a usable space. It's pretty ugly right now. The land definitely wants to go back to the forest it once was!

Some areas are all shade and the rest is partial sun/shade. Drainage is good too. Any ideas on plants that are deer-resistant and multiply? We definitely want to keep the foresty look of it but we know weed control will always be an issue with piece of land! I am an EXTREMELY casual gardener who is feeling a bit overwhelmed right now! Since i'm starting at square one, any advice is very much appreciated!

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Sounds like my property. I did not want to amend my soil to any great degree, so I picked up a book on North American wildflower/plants and have planted primarily natives as they require very little, if any maintenance, once established. First I did a soil test to be sure of what type soil I was working with (acidic 4.5 and loamy or claylike) I do have non-natives like hostas etc. but the majority are natives which require no care once in the ground. I have selected plants to provide color/texture throughout the growing season. A good resource is the New England Guide to Growing and Propogating Wildflowers by Bill Culina. I also added mushroom compost to improve organic matter content and added leaves and mulch.

I picked an area/bed every year or so and planted in that area and now I have three "beds" and the rest is wooded and can grow as it pleases, except for controlling garlic mustard, poison ivy and wild yams. I acquire plants that interest me and divide plants from other beds. Sounds like you have room for some shrubs and understory trees which fill alot of area.

Try to understand how the forest/property works and go from there. In my case, the back of my property floods or is very soggy in the spring so I planted spring ephemerals/flowers that like alot of moisture and go dormant in the summer when the trees leaf out and moisture is less abundant.

There are some wonderful photos posted on this forum and the native forum that you might gleen inspiration from.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 6:47PM
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I too have a wooded lot toward the back of our lot...we've lived here only 3months. Garlic mustard is the only thing in the area. What is the best way to get ride of garlic mustard while incorporating new native plants into the area?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 8:06PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

You might want to look into wild ones. Its a group of native landscapers. They are very active in wisconsin. You might be able to find a member that lives near you that would be willing to help get you started.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 9:31PM
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I pull the garlic mustard. The first year it was daunting so I enlisted my kids help and in the past two years there are less and less seedlings/plants growing. At this point, I pull it as I see it and it is manageable.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 9:14AM
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It depends what you mean by usable space. I have neighbors whose definition of usable is "lawn" with a few landscape plants that are not maintained.

I'd recommend finding the nearest native plant society or group for your area. Here's a web site I found for WI. It would be good to be able to identify native plants. They often have plant sales, too.

Consider whether you want to put a path through the area you have cleared. I have just cleared a section of forest last fall, and the native plants are already re-covering the area. I removed invasives. So, I'm pleased that the natives have a chance, but I may have to put down a bark mulch to keep a pathway clear.

I planted penstemon flowers, and the deer will not touch these. They are eating the elderberry, though. I caged it. So they eat what extends outside the cage, but the plant has a chance to grow above their reach.

I like mock orange, blueberries, and serviceberry, too. Not sure what is best for your area. You may have to water any new plants for the first summer until they settle in.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Native plants for birds

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 6:03PM
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can anyone tell me some wildflowers that thrive in central florida, under a lot of oak trees. all the lawn is shaded with some sparse grass. would like to make it like a wildflower field....thanks joyce

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 9:30AM
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