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Need Planting Opinion

Posted by subgardener 7b (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 30, 09 at 9:41

I wish to plant 3 azalea in my yard but the spot would only be about 8' from a very aggressive river birch. The birch must be close to 15 years old so I figure it will slow down its root growth or even die soon to be replaced by a better behaved tree. The question is whether the azalea could survive till the tree goes. This tree has such aggressive roots that it sent roots up into a pot just resting on the ground. Others in this household have been quite fond of the birch so I can't just remove it.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need Planting Opinion

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 30, 09 at 13:53

Birch trees are both surface-rooted and host for aphids which secrete a bothersome honeydew that will affect plantings beneath them. You can safely plant near but not under them.

At 15 years, your birch is a mere teenager and could easily live another 50+ years.

RE: Need Planting Opinion

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 5, 09 at 8:08

Morz8, I don't plant any birches in my garden for that very reason. That 'bothersome honeydew' will get on cars, windows, and siding, and all plants beneath it. It may not happen in other parts of the country though.

RE: Need Planting Opinion

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 6, 09 at 11:06

Mike, that's a good point, I don't know that they are aphid magnets in other climates too.

That surface rooting habit on most residential size lots can be a heartache though. My mother planted birch (4!) in Longview just a little more than a couple of decades ago and they are causing her all kinds of grief now. She's 83, has damaged sidewalks, compacted beds/sparse lawn, exposed roots just waiting to trip a little old lady :(

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