I live in zone 4B, on four tenths of an acre within the city and have woods to the rear of my house. Over time, I have tried to underplant the trees (challenging, because the soil is compacted, sloped, chalky and dry) to minimize weeds and also minimize turfgrass. I would describe the woodland edge to the north of my property as savannah, it is not deep shade and gets some sun.
So, this year I have decided to lift the daylilies I have planted there, leave the natives (ferns, variegated solomon’s seal, ligularia), eradicate the weeds, and rake in some native seed mix (forbs and grasses) I purchased from a local supplier.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of project? Can you offer any advice? Was your project successful, or would you do something differently next time?
This is based on my experience trying to restore a deteriorated woodland understory caused by excessive deer-browsing & invasion by garlic mustard & stilt grass: I’ve “wintersown” seeds of white wood aster, snakeroot, jumpseed, and other natives collected in the fall from a nearby park (technique at wintersown.org). In the spring, after the seedlings have their true leaves, I’ve transplanted little clumps into pots to grow on in a shady location. By August, they’re a good size to put into their permanent locations and have come back wonderfully strong in the spring. This method allows the seeds to germinate as they would in the wild, but with less competition, and also avoids disturbing the soil too much which in my case would let the invasives take over. Would never have been able to afford the number of plants needed to cover the area. Now transplanting the second winter’s crop and collecting seed for the third.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.