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shade or do I have some sun?

Posted by kristie73 z10 Southern Ca (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 27, 04 at 14:20

I'm new to gardening and it's been 2 years now in my home. I'm slowly landscaping my backyard as it was all dirt and weeds when I moved in. I thought I was paying attention to where the sun hits in my yard, but as the seasons go the sun changes places.

How do you gardeners pay attention and remember all year long where the sun will hit in your yard. I thought the side of my house/fence had mostly shade, so I planted Lobelia. Poor things. I was wrong, the side of my house/fence gets a good amount of sun. I could have swore it was mostly shade.

Also I have another spot. Which I thought I was watching and it gets half sun, half shade. I was planning to plant bulbs there, but I don't think it's getting enough sun now. I think now it's getting more shade than sun due to a tree in the neighbors yard. But in the winter, it's probably really sunny.

How do I determine what to plant, if sometimes in the winter it many be sunny, but in the summer it's shady or vice versa?

Also I planted an avocado tree, which gets a lot of shade in the morning from a neighboring tree, but around noon, the sun hits the tree until the sun sets. So I hope it's getting enough sun there, but I can't remember what it's like in the winter.

Does anyone have any tips on figuring out your sun/shade in your yard year long without waiting and paying attention all year?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: shade or do I have some sun?

In the winter with no leaves on the trees, you will get sun almost anywhere with the exception of the norhtside of the house since the sun rises and sets farther to the south. In the summer the sun rises and sets farther north so you will get more sun on the north side of buildings. It is also higher in the sky so it will cast a smaller shadow to the north of a building. Bulbs and native wildflowers bloom and do a lot of photosynthesizng before the trees leaf out. So they don't mind shade in summer too much. Most plants labelled sun/part shade do well in 4 hours or so of sun. I would expect your avocado gets enough sun since the afternoon sun is quite intense. i hope this helps.

RE: shade or do I have some sun?

6 hours of sunlight is supposed to be full sun, so the things that are getting morning sun and shade in the afternoon probably count as full sun. Many plants prefer to get sun in the morning and shade in the heat of the afternoon, especially in hotter zones. I would venture to guess that a lot of "full sun" plants will need a little shelter in your climate.

I have a dilemma similar to yours; I don't have time to sit and figure out where there's sun and where there isn't, so this is what I've been doing. When you buy your plants, leave them in their pots in the place where you want to put them for a couple of weeks. If they don't turn yellow, they're probably getting enough sun to live. They may not get enough to bloom properly, but the vast majority of plants don't mind being moved once in a while, so you can always fix that later.

Of course, I'm the kind of gardener who buys things when they're on sale and plops them wherever I think they'll look good, so if you're a planner this might not be the technique for you. Just remember that gardening is an art, not a science. :)


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