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Old 09-26-2011, 03:59 PM   #11
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I've failed at growing Kalmia, I've also failed at other ericaceous plants like azaleas and Leucothoe but they are near the foundation which may affect the soil pH. That's why I'm leery of trying blueberries. I'd like to try again, perhaps with a small mound somewhere near the back woods edge away from the house and the driveway.

Near the driveway I need to steer away from moisture lovers due to the gravelly soil, I can't build a berm now that the area is half-planted, that would have been a good idea but I didn't have enough forethought at the time, I just wanted a screen and fast! Now I have to settle for the hardscrabble types. I haven't heard about some of the shrubs you've suggested, I'll have to do a little reading up. Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:45 PM   #12
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I have three young Kalmias planted this spring, all of whom are doing well. Kalmia latifolia is native here, and is generally found in conjunction with chestnut oaks, making my property and soil conditions perfect for it, so I have high hopes it will thrive. No one told me I had to plant them in the fall - they were bequeathed to me by the plant propagator at the NCBG, one straight species and two of the peppermint candy striped dwarf cultivars that they had removed from somewhere months before and didn't have a place for. I grabbed them up, put the dwarf ones by my house and the straight species in the woods in my shrub border.

I have never heard of most of 'Lib's shrubs either. I will have to look into them. I don't do things that need moisture in general, and haven't built up berms and large raised beds because I worry about burying my tree roots under too much soil will adversely affect my mature trees. I added about two - six inches of top soil on top of the clay in my shrub border, depending on where it is relative to the driveway, and had my planter dig good holes.

Linrose, your Fothergilla is amazing. Mine are one year, and six months old respectively and have put on some new growth but not much. I was happy they both bloomed. My ilex verticillatas have berries! About two dozen each, but it is their first year and I wasn't really expecting any. My female yaupon holly (beware, they are dioecious, too) was covered in berries when I planted her, but lost them with transplant shock this spring.

Have any of you had any luck with bear berrry? I planted one two years ago, and it is still alive, and green and healthy, but remains about six inches in all directions, hasn't grown at all. "Spreading ground cover" it claimed.
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Old 09-27-2011, 02:10 AM   #13
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linrose> I failed at Kalmia for too many reasons to count. I have this tendency of slopping things in the ground anywhere there's space taking a sink or swim approach until.... I start having problems with a species I'd really like to grow as an ornamental. That's when I sit back and start examining why I repeatedly failed.
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The plants I suggested aren't exactly moisture lovers but... like most new plantings, they'd have a much better survival rate if they were watered if it got droughty by you... at least until they were established. I hear ya on not having forethought. I've got several areas adjacent to my driveway that I should have "bermed" up way back when.
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turttle> I don't think there are any absolutes to gardening. I wish there were because it'd make things so much easier but there aren't and your property sounds ideal for Kalmia.... my property... not so ideal so I had to look at meeting as many of the cultural requirements as was possible. I finally came to the conclusion this property was too far north to try the straight species again. I might change my mind but probably not with the bitterly cold winters we've been getting the past few years. I was able to grow an American Yellowwood after moving it which is supposedly the kiss of death yet.... it made it. It was a very small sapling though and this property is ideal for that species although it's not documented as ever having occurred on this site. Bear Berry I've got. It's spreading very slowly but... it's spreading. Mine was from a nursery in WI about 200 miles north of me. I bought a 6-pack from Dragonfly several years ago when I couldn't find a seed source within 50 miles. I've found the closer the seed source... the more likely it is a plant will survive and thrive... within reason... I mean I couldn't plant a wetland species in my savanna and expect it to do much of anything except go to plant heaven.
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Old 09-27-2011, 06:10 AM   #14
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turttle,
I have bearberry growing on a steep hill near my garden. The rain kept washing the sandy soil from the hill into my garden, so I was looking for a ground cover that would survive in crappy sandy soil. When I saw the growing directions for bearberry (do no fertilize or over water), I knew I'd found the perfect plant for my hill. It's doing fine, but like your bearberry, is spreading at a slow rate. I'm going to attempt to propagate it from some cuttings next spring to cover the rest of the hill. I also have bearberry (uva ursi) seeds in my freezer, so I'll be winter sowing those.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:20 AM   #15
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Trying to grow an Arctic plant like bearberry in a sub-tropical climate like mine in Kentucky seems counter intuitive. I'll enjoy it when I visit Maine again where it grows all over Grindstone Neck.

I looked back on soil tests I've done around the property, most range in the 6.3 - 6.5 pH range with a couple as high as 7.0 - 7.1. I've tried planting azaleas in peat and pine fines with some luck, they'll last two or three years until they give up. Keeping the soil pH down is like some form of alchemy! turttle your soils must be more acidic than mine to be able to grow Kalmia successfully. I'm still not quite ready to give up on them though. The one I have is still hanging on!

equil, I'm glad your yellowwood is doing well, I planted one a few years ago from a small sapling and it is doing quite well. They are quite rare even in their native areas, they do well in the Nashville area and we are an hour north of Nashville. I fell in love with yellowwood when we lived in Indiana and I saw them on the Ball State campus in Muncie.

yellowwood sm.JPG Yellowwood
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:14 AM   #16
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Bearberry is locally native to me. It occurs in my county, http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARUV. That's 1 that I don't think would be too happy down south. It'd be about the equivalent of me banging my head against the wall trying to find a micro climate on my property to try growing a straight species Kalmia again.
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That Yellowwood looks impressive. You done good!!! They're rare everywhere so I'm liking that you got 1 going too. BTW..... yours is bigger than mine. I don't even want to talk about how many B&B yellowwoods I had delivered and planted that all died or it'd give me a headache. I'm just glad I've got 1 and I'm going to add 2 more but I'd like to get my hands on seed to grow instead of going on an all out search for a local nursery selling the saplings again. I heard rumor Possibility Place might try growing them... sure hope so.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:02 AM   #17
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I got mine from Bernheim Arboretum at a plant sale, it was about one third the size, in a two gallon pot and way cheaper than mail order, I think I paid $16 or so. You have to get them planted young because of the tap root. I hope you can find some more locally. They are slow growers but can be helped with extra water and fertilizer. I hope I live long enough to see it bloom, it might take 10 years or more and then it doesn't bloom every year.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:07 PM   #18
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Linrose, my soil is so acid, it would dissolve nails, so to speak. pH is in the 4-5 range per an OTC test kit. Acid loving things thrive, neutral lovers toddle along and base lovers like spice bush I have to put lime around. Thus, blueberries and azaleas and kalmia. I am often not good about sticking to suggestions on what will thrive here, and follow 'Lib's "sink or swim" philosophy, but usually the ones you would predict to fail, will.

The bear berry seemed ideal, since it wanted dry and no fertilizer which describes my soil, but I don't think it likes the heat. Tree roots may also be its problem, esp since I planted it rather than my twenty year old who could dig real holes, so it was in an inadequate hole.

I got Atlantic nine bark, and Carolina false buckthorn today, as well as some random perennials, that the guy who does the propagation at NCBG tells me should do okay on my property. We'll see. I have various microclimates, and I need to get my shrub planting guy back.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:39 AM   #19
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Ninebark and Carolina buckthorn are great choices! Carolina buckthorn grows along the woods edge here and it just popped up in the driveway bed in front of the arrowwood. Apparently the birds distribute it like pokeweed! It's really a nice plant with shiny leaves and red fruit that turn black when ripe. I'm happy to have it. It tolerates dry shade really well also.

I tried ninebark and it didn't do well, I'm going to have to try again. I don't think it liked the location. It's hard to find the straight species with all the purple and gold leaved ones in the nursery trade now. I had 'Summer Wine' I think. It too tolerates dry soils but needs full sun.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
Ninebark and Carolina buckthorn are great choices! Carolina buckthorn grows along the woods edge here and it just popped up in the driveway bed in front of the arrowwood. Apparently the birds distribute it like pokeweed! It's really a nice plant with shiny leaves and red fruit that turn black when ripe. I'm happy to have it. It tolerates dry shade really well also.

I tried ninebark and it didn't do well, I'm going to have to try again. I don't think it liked the location. It's hard to find the straight species with all the purple and gold leaved ones in the nursery trade now. I had 'Summer Wine' I think. It too tolerates dry soils but needs full sun.
y

Prairie Moon Nurseries carries it, and I believe they're having a big sale right now. I purchased two from them this year in early spring, and the're doing really well. It's the straight pollinated species.
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bushes, clethra alnifolia, dry soil, edge, fothergilla major, gavel, hedge, hydrangea quercifolia, ideas, ilex verticillata, kalmias, sassafras albidum, shrub, shrubs, suggestions, viburnum, woodland

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