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  • #242703
    meg53
    Member

    At the end of our suburban garden we have a large Norfolk Pine growing. It is one of a several land mark trees growing in our area. It is obviously a protected tree in Sydney.

    Even though it is not native it is still a lovely tree but and there is always a but nothing much wants to grow under it. Now we can’t build up the height of the soil under it as this would compromise the health of this tree. So probably I need to plant some sort of shallow rooted ground cover. So does anyone have any suggestions?:geek:

    Cheers

    -Meg

    #333736
    arvee rudra
    Member

    Tough spot Meg. I have had really good results with some of the Dianella species. I have used them around the base of some quite large Eucalypts here and after initial establishment require no additional water and look good all year. If its not too shady then maybe Lomandra or Kennedia could work too. The Kenndia can be a pain if there are other plants nearby as they have a tendency to climb and smother but are fairly easy to keep in check. If you would consider an exotic them its hard to go past Cliveas. Great under trees but slow growing. Another solution is to just mulch the area and have a few choice hardy pot plants.

    regards Arv

    #333737
    Lyn Bagnall
    Member

    Meg, your choice will depend on how low the branches are – i.e. how much light the plants underneath will get. Arv’s suggestions are good because these bulb plants have a fairly small root system but Cliveas like a lot of shade and Dianellas need more light. If your lovely tree casts a lot of shade directly underneath, see if you can get a copy of my book from your local library. It contains a list of plants (too many to list here) for shady dry areas in similar situations to yours. 🙂

    #333738
    Bubba Louie
    Member

    Acidity is an issue under pines so you’ll need to take that into account too.

    #333739
    Anja
    Member

    I have found that agapanthas will grow under anything…..

    #333740
    meg53
    Member

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions.:clap:

    Yes Lyn it is quite shady and dry under the tree and as discussed in other threads our soil is acidic (which I am working on). I will go to the library and if they don’t have a copy of Lyn’s book I will strongly suggest they purchase one. If not I will have to save up and buy one, a useful addition to our library. The trouble with being a bookaholic is that it keeps one constantly poor and one’s partner busy building book shelves.

    I like agapanthas Annie but I thought they needed more sun. I have tried growing cliveas here however some horrible stripy caterpillar seems to have feasted upon them. I have decided I am not interested in plants that can’t look after themselves.

    Cheers

    -Meg

    #333741
    Bubba Louie
    Member

    meg53 wrote:

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions.:clap:

    Yes Lyn it is quite shady and dry under the tree and as discussed in other threads our soil is acidic (which I am working on). I will go to the library and if they don’t have a copy of Lyn’s book I will strongly suggest they purchase one. If not I will have to save up and buy one, a useful addition to our library. The trouble with being a bookaholic is that it keeps one constantly poor and one’s partner busy building book shelves.

    I like agapanthas Annie but I thought they needed more sun. I have tried growing cliveas here however some horrible stripy caterpillar seems to have feasted upon them. I have decided I am not interested in plants that can’t look after themselves.

    Cheers

    -Meg

    If your soil is already acidic it may be really really acidic under the pine. Maybe do a PH test.

    #333742
    Lyn Bagnall
    Member

    meg53 wrote: The trouble with being a bookaholic is that it keeps one constantly poor and one’s partner busy building book shelves.

    Meg – how can you be poor when you are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge. :hug:

    Agapanthus can certainly look after themselves – but remove the seed heads once they are well established or they keep spreading and spreading. We have them growing in full sun on the north side of a building, in part shade beside the water tank, and in shade under liquidamber, jacanranda and a pecan tree – and nothing seems to phase them – though heavy shade reduces the amount of flowers produced. A pH test is a very good idea though, before you choose plants.

    🙂

    #333743
    Anja
    Member

    My agapanthas are under a liquid amber, so get plenty of winter sun but virtually none in the summer. They are in soil that is so hard and so dry, I can’t dig into it. I never water them, feed them or anything, apart from occasionally cutting off the dead flower heads. They are beautiful, healthy and have many many flowers.

    Might be worth a try, if all else fails.

    #333744
    meg53
    Member

    Thank you everyone, yes I will try agapanthas, your experiences have inspired me. I have them growing in our front garden so obviously they do well here.

    Your right Lyn all this knowledge enriches our lives :clap:.

    I have pH tested th soil and it is acidic. Do I need to add lime for agapanthas or can I just plant them?

    Cheers

    -Meg

    #333745
    meg53
    Member

    I am so excited I found a copy of Lyn’s book in the local organic shop and so I splashed out and brought it. I have only just started reading it and I am finding it easy to read and it offers very practical information. Great book Lyn.:tup:

    Why is it that you get much more of a buzz when you buy books than when you buy other stuff?

    Cheers

    -Meg

    #333746
    Lyn Bagnall
    Member

    Thanks, Meg. Hope you get plenty of use from it. Good girl, testing your soil pH.:clap: A lot of growth and pest problems can be avoided by adjusting your soil pH to suit your plants, and you will save yourself a lot of hassles. Having said that, I would be more concerned about the soil being right for the lovely Norfolk Pine rather than the agapanthus – because they seem to muddle through anywhere. They self-seed around here in areas where the soil is around 5.5.

    If you are going to transplant some from your front garden Meg, do them in clumps of 2 or 3 bulbs – they settle in more quickly than single bulbs, and don’t plant them too close to the pine’s trunk – they will spread out where they can. I’d be inclined to collect the seeds (if you haven’t cut off the seed heads) and grow some for planting when small, as these will cause the least disturbance to the pine’s roots. If you need some agapanthus seeds, just PM me with your postal address. 🙂

    #333747
    meg53
    Member

    Thanks Lyn no I don’t want to change the soil around the tree as it is big and healthy now. If it’s not broken don’t try and fix it.

    Sounds like your soils are similar pH to ours, which is very encouraging as it is obvious they can be modified. Once our vegetable beds are built I am going to grow green manures, (can’t wait).

    Cheers

    -Meg

    #333748
    plumtree
    Member

    It sounds like the suggestion box is closed but Ivy was often used under trees until it became a ‘bad word’.

    It grows fast, will spread much like a ground cover, will act as a mulch and looks tidy. No need to add more soil! Needs pruning once or twice a year to keep it from growing up the tree and you will have to mow it when it reaches the desired circumference. You will also have to mow it to keep it low if that is the desired effect.

    It will work when all else fails on those impossible to tame spots under large conifer trees!

    Don’t forget about because it will take over, regular pruning keeps it neat and under control.

    #333749
    meg53
    Member

    Thanks Plumtree for your suggestion. The only thing that worries me about ivy is if we go away it may get out of hand as our son is not really garden conscious, if you know what I mean. I am sure it would look pretty in such a situation.

    Cheers

    -Meg

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