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Old 04-17-2012, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Pleasantville, NY
114 posts, read 491,946 times
Reputation: 50

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I've been searching for a while, both this site and Google, and really haven't zeroed-in on what I really need.

I have 10'x4' area, by my back deck, underneath my kitchen window, that houses my upstairs air condition unit. It's facing the west side of my house and because of the trees south of it, gets some sun during the middle of summer, but other times of the year, it's partly to mostly shaded or only gets sun a couple of hours a day.

Last summer we had an extremely wet summer and the ground 'squished' when you walked across it. But before that, that corner was always a little damp even days after it rained. Last summer, it never dried, between the constant rain and the AC drain.

I have a couple of things planted... a small shrub that isn't fairing too well (It's as old as the house and we'll probably just pull it up), a small tree-like bush (I don't know what it is), and a 14' tall rhododendron.

I want to plan something around the AC unit without getting it too close to clog it, but likes water, to help soak up the moisture.

What I found during searches were generally for things like swampy areas or things that would get way too tall for what I'm wanting. Perhaps a shrub?

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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Drain it better and put a low lattice fence with star jasmine around it.

I would be more worried about the excess water next to my house.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,495,681 times
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And *I* would be more worried about the roots of a plant that tolerates wet soil next to my house.

If you've got a drainage problem, do it right; put in a french drain or something like that.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:11 PM
 
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^^What both Bulldogdad and cittic10 mention ^^

You most likely have clay soil which drains poorly and are asking for a mosquito problem with what you describe. I'd look into drainage first and planting second. The best plants for what you describe as the amount of sunshine and moisture might be ferns. Maidenhair fern, Cinnamon fern and Royal fern are three that come to mind that are tall enough to be screens. You can also check with a local nursery for "woodland" and "shade" plantings for some suggestions to get an idea what can fit in with your existing landscape.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,473 posts, read 14,346,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
Drain it better and put a low lattice fence with star jasmine around it.

I would be more worried about the excess water next to my house.
I planted Autumn fern and hostas around my AC unit, and they're happy. There are daylilies (the old-fashioned orange, which appear to require less sunlight to bloom) in the vicinity which are healthy. Astilbe may be a decent choice, as well. I had a Christmas fern which appeared happy, but I moved it to a roomier location.

My area was also a little "too" moist. In my case, the sump pumps were draining right into the area. I extended the outflow of the pumps to the little homemade pond, which is downstream and further away from the foundation.

My AC is in a "corner" and there's a little overflow whenever it rains, so the area's still somewhat moist at times. My theory is the plants do help to sop up any additional "extra" moisture there.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:43 AM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,463,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
I planted Autumn fern and hostas around my AC unit, and they're happy. There are daylilies (the old-fashioned orange, which appear to require less sunlight to bloom) in the vicinity which are healthy. Astilbe may be a decent choice, as well. I had a Christmas fern which appeared happy, but I moved it to a roomier location.

My area was also a little "too" moist. In my case, the sump pumps were draining right into the area. I extended the outflow of the pumps to the little homemade pond, which is downstream and further away from the foundation.

My AC is in a "corner" and there's a little overflow whenever it rains, so the area's still somewhat moist at times. My theory is the plants do help to sop up any additional "extra" moisture there.
Sounds nice.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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Another consideration would be Siberian Iris or a variety of lillies (if this is not in an area with pets).
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Pleasantville, NY
114 posts, read 491,946 times
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Good suggestions, thanks! The ferns weren't something I originally had considered, so I'll read up on them. It actually fits with what I'm looking for.

I do have drainage, but last year was an extremely wet summer. My area had about 20" above normal for the year! Plus, we have high water table... I have a natural spring that comes up in my back yard and I have diverted to a trench on my property line that drains into a storm drain (via underground pipe at the end of my property). I bought my home in 2010 and that summer, I never saw signs of the spring but did see some drainage issues along side that part of the property - grass missing as the property is sloped and it look like a lot of water had gone through there at some point in the past. In 2011, the spring was non-stop and only dried up during the middle of winter.

I installed central AC last year, while the grounds were soggy out, so my problem of moist soil may only be due to last year's high water table and extreme weather conditions.

To assist with my existing drainage, I would like to plant something there because it's currently bare. There used to be a vine that grew there but I hated it and pulled it out most of it last summer.

Here's the area that I'm referring to...
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,775 posts, read 4,041,307 times
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Radioguy,
Do you ever get water in your basement?
Is it real moist? Are the basement walls green?
The first thing I would do is get sun to that area.
It would help with all that green moss all over the house.
After you get sun to the area, look into some sort of a willow.
There are new more compact willows today that you could cut to stay
smaller that would really help with the some of the moisture.
Do you have a sump pump?
Don't spend too much on landscaping for that area, if you
get water in the basement, you will have to call a waterproofing
company and they will dig up the plantings.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Pleasantville, NY
114 posts, read 491,946 times
Reputation: 50
The green algae on the side of the house was the result of the rhododendron that used to lean up against the house. And then a winter storm in 2009/2010 made it lean over and away from the house, exposing the wall. The moss underneath the tree, on the bricks, are the result of it producing too much shade after the storm's damage. Last summer, I pruned the rhododendron so it's not as bad.

I do have moisture in the basement. No sump pump, but I do have a dehumidifier. I suspect that when the rhododendron tipped over, it did something to the weeping tile there or something. The previous owners said they never had moisture in the basement before they sold it.

To dig there requires moving the AC, digging up the rhododendron and possibly removing the deck. Though I would love to address the true issue head-on, but that's a project that I'm not willing to take on because of the expense. With the dehumidifier, the basement moisture is under control.
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