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Old 05-27-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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Have an area on north of the house which is shady most of the day and tends to be fairly wet. I have tried things for shade... no go. It constantly gets some annoying weed with yellow flowers-- grows kind of like vinca. I would love vinca... this stuff, even removed first, filled in thru it.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:07 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,957 posts, read 12,750,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloTransplant View Post
It constantly gets some annoying weed with yellow flowers-
Sounds like buttercup. Very pretty weed but wildly invasive.

Creeping buttercup - Weed information - Organic Weed Management

Outside of identifying your invasive weed....what was the question?
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,470 posts, read 16,444,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloTransplant View Post
Have an area on north of the house which is shady most of the day and tends to be fairly wet. I have tried things for shade... no go. It constantly gets some annoying weed with yellow flowers-- grows kind of like vinca. I would love vinca... this stuff, even removed first, filled in thru it.

Anyone have any ideas?
If you're in NY state, the soil you have may be acidic. You can have it tested, or just assume it's acidic if you have healthy maples on the property. First, if you still have the weeds, put down a couple of layers of cardboard or newspaper and then cover with at least 3 inches of mulch. You'll need to over lap the cardboard or newspaper to make sure no light gets to the soil so that you kill the weeds.

Then in September or so, I would plant the following: native ferns such as lady fern, cinnamon fern, autumn fern... I have these guys in my wet shady garden and they are beautiful.

*Note make sure you have shade. If you get sun in the area in the morning it's OK, because morning sun is gentle. But if you have sun in the afternoon, the sun may be too strong for ferns (other than lady fern, I believe). I think sun in the morning counts more as "shade" and sun in the afternoon counts more as "sun."

Other plants that I have less experience with, but which are also supposed to be good for wet shade are aquilegia canadensis, cardinal flower, and astilbe.

Astilbe aren't native, but I'm kind of dying until this Fall because I really want some (as well as some pink pulmonaria) for my garden!
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Sounds like buttercup. Very pretty weed but wildly invasive.

Creeping buttercup - Weed information - Organic Weed Management

Outside of identifying your invasive weed....what was the question?
Thanks, that is it.

I want to get rid of it and plant in the area. The area is very damp and gets little sun. I cleaned it out, planed vinca and it lasted one year... then this came up thru it.

I would love suggestion on how to kill this ( even pesticide!) so I can pull it out and next year put in new dirt and plant something fast growing that will flourish ( not hostas)
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:26 PM
 
4,135 posts, read 10,837,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
If you're in NY state, the soil you have may be acidic. You can have it tested, or just assume it's acidic if you have healthy maples on the property. First, if you still have the weeds, put down a couple of layers of cardboard or newspaper and then cover with at least 3 inches of mulch. You'll need to over lap the cardboard or newspaper to make sure no light gets to the soil so that you kill the weeds.

Then in September or so, I would plant the following: native ferns such as lady fern, cinnamon fern, autumn fern... I have these guys in my wet shady garden and they are beautiful.

*Note make sure you have shade. If you get sun in the area in the morning it's OK, because morning sun is gentle. But if you have sun in the afternoon, the sun may be too strong for ferns (other than lady fern, I believe). I think sun in the morning counts more as "shade" and sun in the afternoon counts more as "sun."

Other plants that I have less experience with, but which are also supposed to be good for wet shade are aquilegia canadensis, cardinal flower, and astilbe.

Astilbe aren't native, but I'm kind of dying until this Fall because I really want some (as well as some pink pulmonaria) for my garden!
Our soil is almost solid clay; this area was never a garden; I rototilled, added nice light garden soil ( bagged, not full of weed seed and perlite and fetilizer... and then I put in vinca and then this grew through the vinca the next year and killed it. [Mice run thru here, so I assume they could have dumped seeds] We have lots of maples, so I can assume acidic soil, I guess. Sun is almost nonexistent here: north side of the house and sun is blocked 90% of the day as the garage is north & east of the house; any sun is late, late afternoon.

Astilibe sounds good. I am not a real fan of ferns -- afraid they will get huge in the shady damp. I will have to look up the other flowers; don;t know them ( standard answer in this area is "plant hostas" (not my choice)
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Reston
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If you can raise the soil level (with a raised bed or rocks) then you will have a lot more options. What USDA zone is your garden?

National Gardening Association
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:25 PM
 
4,135 posts, read 10,837,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky★ View Post
If you can raise the soil level (with a raised bed or rocks) then you will have a lot more options. What USDA zone is your garden?

National Gardening Association
Cannot raise the dirt -- it is at the basement window level. We are zone 4. (usually, people call it 5, but 5 plants do not do well; 4 is really it)
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:26 PM
 
2,063 posts, read 7,815,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
If you're in NY state, the soil you have may be acidic. You can have it tested, or just assume it's acidic if you have healthy maples on the property. First, if you still have the weeds, put down a couple of layers of cardboard or newspaper and then cover with at least 3 inches of mulch. You'll need to over lap the cardboard or newspaper to make sure no light gets to the soil so that you kill the weeds.

Then in September or so, I would plant the following: native ferns such as lady fern, cinnamon fern, autumn fern... I have these guys in my wet shady garden and they are beautiful.

*Note make sure you have shade. If you get sun in the area in the morning it's OK, because morning sun is gentle. But if you have sun in the afternoon, the sun may be too strong for ferns (other than lady fern, I believe). I think sun in the morning counts more as "shade" and sun in the afternoon counts more as "sun."

Other plants that I have less experience with, but which are also supposed to be good for wet shade are aquilegia canadensis, cardinal flower, and astilbe.

Astilbe aren't native, but I'm kind of dying until this Fall because I really want some (as well as some pink pulmonaria) for my garden!
Some misconceptions here that need to be addressed. I used to live in NY and I can tell you it is a quite large state with a lot of different soils (from sandy to mostly clay to a silty loam to unusual glacial remains called "Black Dirt" in southern NY) and subsoils as well as several different zones. Its not being in NY that might make the soil acidic but the source of the soil and subsoils, especially when the top soil was removed.

Secondly the sun and shade note is misleading. The number hours of sun are what determine the categories of full sun, part sun, part shade and shade. The quality of that sun time can further determine if plants can tolerate it. Afternoon sun is strongest so a part shade plant will do best when shielded in the afternoon and a part sun plant may need extra water but otherwise be fine. A woodland plant can tolerate small amounts of dappled sunlight no matter if morning or afternoon, so it will need shielding all the time although morning sun is less likely to cause problems. A full sun plant usually can handle sun at any hour. All of this will also depend on the zone the garden resides in. Astilbe will do quite well in a full sun to part sun situation in a northern state like Vermont or upstate NY but would be totally burnt to a crisp, even when frequently watered, in a southern state like TN or NC. In those states it needs much more afternoon sun protection. Mine are on the northeastern side of my home for this reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloTransplant View Post
Thanks, that is it.

I want to get rid of it and plant in the area. The area is very damp and gets little sun. I cleaned it out, planed vinca and it lasted one year... then this came up thru it.

I would love suggestion on how to kill this ( even pesticide!) so I can pull it out and next year put in new dirt and plant something fast growing that will flourish ( not hostas)
I understand you have very little sun hitting this piece of your garden? OK seriously you have a combinations of problems with poor clay soil, mostly shade and an invasive plant. It will take a little doing to get rid of it and grow something else.

You may want to try the 'lasagna gardening' style of weed control as Kinkytoes described (newspaper layers) but if you have a height problem with the windows of your basement that may present some problems in order to get the layers you need.

Even once you have ripped out the buttercup it will keep coming back, especially when the soil is disturbed as you did tilling in new soil. The seed was most likely already there not brought in with the bagged soil or by mice. Even if very little seed was there, deep tilling would have brough pieces of old plant root closer to the surface... roots are another way the plant spreads. Tilling is not recommended by those with some gardening experience under their belt simply because many invasive and weedy plants have seeds that stay viable in the ground for years (some have proven to be capable of sprouting many decades later!!!!!!) and once brought up to the surface will sprout and many invasive plants also regrow from small bits of root.

The organic approach (I prefer this when ever possible but it is not the only way) would be to pull out each plant you find trying to make sure all parts of the visible roots are removed. Ironically now that you have tilled it up the best recourse is to continually hoe and rake through to pull up and uproot any seedlings, especially on a hot day. A slower and less physically demanding method would be to directly spray each plant with vinegar over a period of days until they turn brown and die. Unfortunately they often will not completely die off and re-sprout form underground roots, so it still will require getting out there at least every other day for a while. Be sure not to compost any of the plants you pull up, everything needs to be discarded. Plant whatever you want to plant and mulch (either compost or standard mulches you purchase at a nursery) at least 2 to 3 inches (it retards existing plant growth and reduces new seedlings). Check at least every two to three days for new sprouts of the weed and pull, try to get as much root as possible each time. Eventually there will be less of the weed and more of your plants but it requires some vigilance over a period of years. This is one of several reasons organic gardening is not for everyone, it takes a lot of work. You will always need to be somewhat proactive even when using chemical warfare because the soil conditions of damp/wet and shade are its ideal habitat.

If the soil pH allows for some adjustment an application of lime will make the buttercup less likely to regrow as it prefers somewhat acidic soil. As Kinkytoes said it is a good idea to have a soil test done. Usually when you get the lab result back it will give you specifics on how much to apply anything that is missing and how much lime may be needed.

Normally something called "solarization" would be of help in eliminating a weed and its seed but it requires mostly to full sun to be effective. That leaves out your shady spot.

Not as organic approach would be to use Roundup or its equivalent from the local nursery, Co-op or Box Store. Some standard lawn weed killers will also work well in killing existing plants. Unfortunately the main ingredient in the roundup requires sun for quicker uptake so it will probably require multiple applications over time to achieve at least partial eradication. Once you have reduced the amount of these weeds returning, plant the new plants and mulch as above. Vigilance will still be required to keep any returning buttercups from turning into a new invasion.

There are a few plants that will tolerate or even like the conditions you have, and are not ferns, including some that Kinkytoes recommended. Perennial Vinca (that is what I assume you meant as annual Vinca needs sun, lots of it) is considered somewhat invasive so that should have taken off in those conditions so you may want to get that soil tested for any other problems. Astilbe may work well and don't require a lot of care once established. If you want something larger you might even want to consider one or two types of Hydrangea. The ones that would most likely do best are the Oak Leaf (aka 'Hydrangea quercifolia') -it actually likes moist soils and is more of a woodlands plant than other varieties and possibly "Anabell" (aka Hydrangea arborescens) which grows up into zone 4.

At the moment I am trying out a plant that should also thrive in those conditions so I can't tell you too much, yet, from personal experience. One of its common names is Heartleaf which makes it sound pretty already... its other name is Siberian Bugloss, which doesn't sound quite as pretty. LOL The plant is Brunnera and should do well in your zone as well. This site has some good information on it as well as some companion plant recommendations. Unfortunately some of those companions require less moisture or more sun but it might be worth a look: Perennial Results: Plant View - Brunnera macrophylla 'Spring Yellow'

Good luck with your battle... and let us know how it goes!
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,470 posts, read 16,444,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J&Em View Post
Some misconceptions here that need to be addressed. I used to live in NY and I can tell you it is a quite large state with a lot of different soils (from sandy to mostly clay to a silty loam to unusual glacial remains called "Black Dirt" in southern NY) and subsoils as well as several different zones. Its not being in NY that might make the soil acidic but the source of the soil and subsoils, especially when the top soil was removed.

...
Good luck with your battle... and let us know how it goes!
I think the maple trees speak for themselves..unless you want to chime in there, too. A lot of home gardeners, I suspect will not spend the money or time getting soil tested or using a sun meter. I was providing tips that have worked successfully for me and were inexpensive. Looking around to see if there are acid loving plants is a fairly accurate way to determine the soil ph.

If the OP is like me, he/she may have some confusion about the qualities of "shade" that affect the plants. IMO, it's a little confusing the first time you plan a shade garden. I have several gardens in shady areas. I did my research, but it took a little trial and error. If I had been aware that morning sun is milder and afternoon sun is hotter, I could have saved not only money, but time moving around plants to more suitable locations.

You can fry a costly "shade/partial shade" plant if you put it in a shady area that gets most of the sun in the afternoon, regardless of whether or not it only gets 4 hours of sunlight (technically partial shade). The time of day when the sun shines in the area is extremely important.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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If you see a plant with heart shaped leaves, beware. Wild violets are nasty invasive scourges. Small plants aren't so bad in wooded borders if its a more or less natural setting. I see some in a nearby cemetary and a carpet of them under an old tree is pretty. Along the bike trail they're everywhere. But if they invade your garden, get rid of them pronto. We had one come up and I wasn't at first sure what it was. I thought someone might have planted it and I didn't want to rip up a perennial so I let it go. It bloomed and I identified it and have seen them in the lawn( taking the lawnmower over them is fun and I always make sure to get real close to the ground, heh heh). Like I said they aren't bad looking for an invasive pest weed. I decided not to dig it out in the fall and would let it go until spring. Big mistake. It gave forth over a dozen little offshoots and seedlings I had to dig out and more popped up in the grass. But going after the main plant was tough. It refused to budge and I needed a shovel to pry up the dinner plate sized plant and its tuberous roots were down over six inchees deep. And after removing it it still kept coming back like a tumor. Now I have some spreading under a rhododendron. Oh, boy.
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