Insects & Firewood


Flickr image courtesy of Shay Sowden per CC license

Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are a nice way to keep your homes warm in the winter while saving money on heating bills. However, when using any type of wood-powered heating method, it is always a concern of what other things you will bring inside besides just the firewood. Insects are often found in wood brought indoors for fireplaces and they can emerge in your home to cause you troubles. The most common insects we find in our firewood include carpenter ants and wood-boring beetles.

Insects can be brought into your home when you bring in firewood for fireplaces and stoves. Some insects may lay their eggs or pupate within trees prior to or just after they have been cut down for firewood, the insects may still be inside the wood when you bring it indoors. When the temperatures warm up, either in spring or in your home if you bring the firewood indoors, the insects can emerge. These insects rarely cause an infestation in your home or cause damage to your furniture or home structure, but can be a nuisance when they get into your home.

carpenter ant

Carpenter Ants are commonly found in many forms of decaying wood. They do not feed on wood, but they dig into decaying wood to form galleries for their nests. Carpenter Ants are the large black or red ants often found on trees that have decay as they are making a nest within that tree. In a house, carpenter ants can do damage if you have a leak which has caused wood of your home to decay, otherwise they usually will not become a problem in a home. They can be brought indoors with firewood that they were living in.

There are many wood-boring beetles that are also found in firewood. We have longhorned beetles, flatheaded borers, and bark beetles that are all found in trees and logs cut for firewood. Females of these beetles are actually attracted to dying, freshly cut, or recently killed trees to lay eggs on the wood. These beetles can emerge in your home, but don’t usually cause problems in the wood products found within your home. One common structure-infesting pest, a powerpost beetle, can get into your home, but they only lay their eggs on bare, unfinished wood. Wood that has been varnished, painted, or sealed is safe unless exposed surfaces appear. So, the wood-boring beetles can get into our homes on firewood, but they are rarely a problem other than an annoyance to you.

A good control for insects that emerge from your firewood in your home is to vacuum them to dispose of them in that manner. However, the best method of management of these insects is to keep them out of the house in the first place. To protect your home from insects emerging from firewood indoors, bring in wood only as needed. Do not store your firewood indoors, leave it outdoors in an accessible location to bring in wood a few pieces at a time so that it goes directly into the fire. It is not recommended, and is strongly discouraged, to apply pesticides to your firewood because dangerous fumes may come out of the firewood when you burn it.

Plants For Spring

Plants for Spring Gardens-Canva

Well we are back to a new year and hopefully 2016 will be a great year for you all. One of my favorite things about a new year is getting excited to start planting again. Now, obviously we can’t go out and plant in our gardens right now, but we can start to determine what we will plant this spring to add new interest to our gardens. A great place to start would be the “Great Plants for the Great Plains”.

The Great Plants program is developed by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. It is a program to bring superior ornamental landscape plants into gardens to meet the challenging growing conditions of the Great Plains, according to their website. This program helps to increase diversity in our landscapes and encourages homeowners to plant with underutilized plant material.

The members of the arboretum choose a tree, conifer, shrub, perennial, and grass selection for each year. This year, the group has chosen

  • American hornbeam for the tree
  • Ponderosa pine for the conifer
  • New Jersey Tea for the shrub
  • Fremont’s primrose for the perennial
  • ‘Dallas Blues’ switchgrass for the grass.

2016 Great Plants Collage

Try incorporating these unique and great plants into your landscaping this spring.

Other good plant choices would include the 2016 All American Selections. These are selections that were tested for their performance by impartial judges. The plants chosen as National winners are selected based on the fact that they perform best over all of North America. There are also regional winners that perform best in certain regions. The varieties chosen for the 2016 National Winners include:

  • Brocade Cherry Night Geranium
  • Brocade Fire Geranium
  • Japanese Red Kingdom Mustard
  • Cornito Giallo Pepper
  • Escamillo Pepper
  • Strawberry Delizz F1 Strawberry
  • Candyland Red Tomato
  • Chef’s Choice Green Tomato
  • The regional winner from the Heartland, which includes Nebraska, is Summer Jewel Lavender Salvia

These are some unique and fun choices of plants that can be added to your garden and your cooking. Try growing some of these with your children or grandchildren as a fun way to introduce them to gardening.

You can also look at seed catalogs and local seed sources to find fun, new varieties for your landscape and vegetable garden. January is an exciting time for any horticulturist as the new seed catalogs start coming in the mail in January and February. If you aren’t receiving any seed catalogs in the mail you can go online to sign up for a catalog, most of them are free. Just go to your favorite seed company and request their catalog. Good choices include

  • Burpee
  • Jung
  • Johnny’s
  • Gurney’s
  • Stock Seed Farm

Take the time now, while it is too cold to go outside, to plan out your gardens and determine what you will plant in the space you have available. Remember to always follow the guidelines for spacing in your gardens to help avoid disease and insect issues. It might be helpful to draw out what you will plant. Your drawing does not have to be to scale, just so you get the actual distances and the spacing of the plants you choose. We may not be able to get outside and get planting just yet, but we can start to plan for the spring while we are stuck in the house.


Deicers blog header

With winter in full swing, it is a common practice to use deicers on our sidewalks and driveways to prevent falling on ice. With deicing agents, we need to be careful to not harm our plants when we use them and make good choices on what we use.

Bag of DeicerDeicers can cause damage to our concrete sidewalks and to our plants growing beside them. Many deicing agents contain salt substances, such as sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Because of the salt content found in these products, it can cause severe damage to our plants if too much is piled on them too often. Typical plant symptoms of salt damage include:

  • Desiccation (drying out)
  • Dieback
  • Stunting
  • Leaf margin and tip damage that looks as though the leaves were burned by a chemical

DSCN5874To avoid damage to the concrete, remove the salt as soon as you can. Deicers are meant to make shoveling easier, not to completely melt away the snow and ice. As soon as the salt melts through the ice and snow enough that it can be removed, go out and shovel it off of the concrete. When removing the snow, do it in a manner that protects the landscape plants growing in the yard. Do not pile the snow onto trees, shrubs, or flower gardens. If it has to be piled onto your landscape, move the salt onto the grass and try to do it in a manner that makes it more uniform on the grass surface. If too much salt continually gets piled up on the grass in one location, the turf can be harmed.

If you are very concerned with the effect the deicers have on your plants, you can use alternate products for melting the ice. Calcium magnesium acetate is a deicer that contains no salt. This is a safe alternative to the regular salts because it does not harm plants or animals and can be used on concrete because it doesn’t cause the damage that salt does. It is also less damaging to the environment that some of the other choices, but runoff of this product can degrade water quality in the surface water. You can also choose to use sand on your concrete, which will cause no damage to the plants in your landscape, this will not melt your ice, but it will give you traction to walk on the sidewalk. Sand and gravel will not cause any harm to your plants and minimal damage to the environment but it will have to be swept away after the snow and ice melts.

Another snow related topic is that of the snow and ice resting on your tree branches and on top of your shrubs. The snow can be removed with a broom if you desire to do so, but can be left alone to melt for no damage to the plants it is sitting on. As for the ice, let it melt naturally. Do not try to hit the ice off of the tree branches because this can cause you to break some of the branches, which will be more detrimental to the plant. If there is snow on your tree causing it to bend down, it will reform in the spring once the snow melts off of it.


2016 Master Gardener Program

2016 MG Program for blog

Winter tends to be less eventful than much of the rest of the year. The weather is too cold to go outside and do much gardening and we tend to have to stay inside and find other ways to occupy our time. However, this is a great time of the year to get some education, such as attending the Extension Master Gardener Program.

MG logoThe Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state. It has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff and then volunteer in their community. They contribute time as volunteers working with their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service throughout the first two years of their involvement in the program. Master Gardener volunteers retain their certification through 10 hours of annual training and 20 hours of volunteering each year.

Each year the Master Gardener program is held throughout the state, including in Gage County. The programs are held from 6:30-9:00pm on Tuesday nights at the Gage County Extension Office. This year the programs run from January 26-March 8. The schedule for the classes is as follows:

  • January 26– Orientation & Landscaping in the Shade – Nicole Stoner
  • February 2– Selection and Care of Evergreen Trees and Shrubs – Todd Faller
  • February 9– Putting Perennials to Work – Scott Evans
  • February 16– Basic Botany/Plant Identification – Stacy Adams
  • February 23– Weed Identification and Control – Natalia Bjorklund
  • March 1– Polarizing Yard & Garden Issues – Kelly Feehan, Tamra Jackson-Ziems & Nicole Stoner
  • March 8– Efficient Landscape Irrigation – John Fech

This class will additionally be provided in Wilber following the same schedule on Wednesday afternoons from 1-3:30pm. It will run from January 27-March 9 at the Saline County Extension Office.

MG Activity CollageFor volunteer service, most of the Master Gardeners in the area participate in management of many of the gardens in your community. Look around the landscapes in public areas the next time you drive around town, there are signs to show which landscapes the Gage or Saline County Master Gardeners help to manage. They do a great job and really help keep our communities looking nice.

The cost of the Master Gardener program is $160 for the first year, which includes a book, t-shirt, and nametag. For returning Master Gardeners the cost is just $10. Please contact me at the Gage County Extension office at 402-223-1384 to sign up for the program. The deadline for enrollment into the class is January 15, 2016.

Holiday Plants

Happy Holidays wreath for blog

Happy Holidays! The holiday season is very enjoyable, especially the wonderful decorations. Many of our holiday decorations are horticultural displays like the main centerpiece of the season, which is a tree. We use holly plants for their berries and green leaves. We also use greenery from conifers as wreaths, swags and garland. These decorations not only look nice for the season but they tend to bring a nice holiday scent inside our homes.


Wreaths can be made from greenery from your own landscape. Fresh greenery not only adds a great decorating touch to your home for the holidays, but it also will add a nice holiday scent to your home. White pine, juniper, spruce, ivy and holly are all great choices of live greenery for your home this holiday season. You can take these directly from your landscape, just be careful when you prune these decorations off of your living plants. Don’t make all of cuts in the same location and try to make them far enough back in the plant that the other branches cover the cuts. Use a hand pruner to make good cuts that will not harm your tree or shrub.

Holly makes a good to plant use as decoration in our homes for the holidays. According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, evergreens are used to decorate the house for the holiday because they are used to represent everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. Holly plants are evergreen shrubs with dark green or variegated foliage and have bright red berries to make a beautiful holiday display. The berries of holly are poisonous, so keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Mistletoe is another great holiday tradition. This is the small leafy plant that we hang from a doorway or just somewhere up high where people will walk under it. The tradition is that if two people meet underneath the mistletoe they are supposed to kiss. This tradition began in ancient times as a ritual people did to increase their chance of marriage in the upcoming year. The berries of mistletoe are also poisonous, so keep them out of reach of small hands and pets as well.

Multiple colors of Poinsettia

Poinsettia Photo by Jan Hygnstrom, UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

Poinsettias are a wonderful plant for the holiday. The traditional poinsettia is red, but newer varieties can be found in white, pink, peach, yellow, and marbled or speckled colors. The colored portion of the poinsettia is actually a bract, or a modified leaf, not a flower. The flowers are the tiny yellow parts in the center of the colored bracts. Poinsettias are not poisonous, but can cause a skin reaction, so keep them out of reach of small children and pets.

When we purchase holiday plants, the care of them begins in the store where you purchase them. The first thing you need to do for the best health of those plants is to ensure that they are covered up with plastic as you bring them out to your car from the store and from your car to your home. Exposure to cold temperatures and wind, that is inevitable in Nebraska, can damage the leaves, the flowers or the bracts. When you get them home, you should take the plastic off of the plant and be sure to keep the plant watered. You also need to make sure that your plant is in a pot with drainage holes and remove the decorative wrapping from the pot when you get it home to allow for more drainage. This will help you enjoy your holiday plants for the whole holiday season and then some. Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Choosing a Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree canva

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s that time again, when we move into the Holiday Season. Typically, Thanksgiving weekend is the time when people begin to put up their holiday displays in and around their homes. These displays almost always include a Christmas tree. Getting a fresh tree from a local farm is an enjoyable experience for the family to do together.

There are 25 Christmas tree farms in Nebraska. A few of these farms are located very near us in southeast Nebraska. To get a tree from a local tree farm you can visit: Pinecrest Tree Farm in Blue Springs, Kohout’s Christmas Trees near Dorchester, Walnut Grove Tree Farm in Raymond, or Prairie Woods in Hallam, to name a few. There are many other listed, to find a tree farm closest to you, visit the Nebraska Christmas Tree Growers Association online at:

When choosing your Christmas tree, choose one that suits your room size and desires of your family. Make sure that it will fit in the room you plan to place it in and that it won’t overtake the room. It might be a good idea to take a few measurements before leaving home. The most common tree species used for Christmas trees in Nebraska include:

  • Balsam Fir
  • Blue Spruce
  • Concolor Fir
  • Douglas-Fir
  • Fraser Fir
  • Scotch Pine
  • Eastern White Pine
Christmas tree farm, flickr, UGA College of Ag & Env

Flickr image courtesy of UGA College of Ag and Environmental Sciences-OCCS per CC license

It takes about 7 years for a Christmas tree farmer to grow his or her trees from seedlings to retail sale height, which is about 6 feet, according to the Nebraska Christmas Tree Growers Association. They also say that for every real Christmas tree harvested, 2-3 seedlings are planted in its place. This helps to ensure future years of tree sales and tree replacement is always a good practice.

Be sure to keep live trees watered throughout the holiday season. If they don’t have water they will dry out quickly and not look as fresh and beautiful. When you purchase a real Christmas tree, be sure to make a new cut on the trunk of the tree to open up the stem for water uptake. Christmas trees rarely, if ever, start fires in our homes, except in the famous National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, but they need to be watered to help them retain their color and keep your floor from getting too messy from fallen needles. Even if they don’t start fires, it is best to place your tree in your home away from fireplaces, air ducts, and televisions.

After the holiday season, it is best to recycle your Christmas tree. There are many ways to recycle your trees that give it better use than just taking it to the local landfill or burn pile. Many people take their trees out to local lakes to the areas designated for Christmas tree recycling. The trees are placed on the ice in the winter and when the ice melts in the spring, they fall into the lake for fish habitat. You can also chip your old tree and use it for mulch in your garden in the spring. These recycling methods will help you to enjoy your Christmas tree all year long.

Deer, Rabbits, Voles, Oh My!!

With November here, we can expect cooler temperatures and more interactions with wildlife. Often times these interactions are with the deer, rabbits, and voles chewing on our plants. These pests can cause a great deal of damage and can be controlled in our landscapes to protect our plants over the winter months.

My beautiful picture

Deer can really be a nuisance to plants in all seasons of the year. They can chew off the ends of small twigs and bucks can rub their antlers on smaller trees, injuring the bark. I get a lot of calls from people who want to know what the silver bullet is to reduce the amount of damage that deer do to our vegetable gardens and trees and shrubs each year. The sad truth is that there is no real cure for deer damage to our plants. Exclusion is going to have the biggest impact on deer damage to our plants

Deer Rub on Tree, Photo from USDA Forest Service - North Central Research Station , USDA Forest Service,

Deer Rub on Tree, Photo from USDA Forest Service – North Central Research Station , USDA Forest Service,

Excluding deer from our plants is sometimes a difficult task, but it can be done, in smaller areas, like around acreages. There are fences that can be utilized but they need to be at least 8 feet tall. Another type of fence that has proven quite effective is an electric fence that has small squares of aluminum foil coated with peanut butter, placed sporadically on the fence. This technique is used to eventually train the deer to stay away from the fence, even if the electricity is not turned on. This electric fence technique should not be used in an area where a child or a pet can get to the fence so that they do not get electrocuted. The commercial spray repellants available for deer are not effective.

Rabbit Protection Fence, Photo from Lancaster County Extension

Rabbit Protection Fence, Photo from Lancaster County Extension

Rabbits can also be quite a problem in areas where deer are a problem. Rabbits will chew on small plants. In the summer they chew many of our plants off at ground level, and in the winter months they gnaw on the thin bark of young trees to feed on the green inner bark areas. Rabbits can be excluded by surrounding a garden or landscape area with a low fence, at least 2 feet tall. Cylinders can be placed around young trees to reduce damage during the winter. Habitat modification is another good way to control rabbits, remove brush piles, debris, and other cover that rabbits prefer to live in during the winter. As with deer, the commercial spray repellants available for rabbits are not effective.

Vole damage, NebGuide

Vole Damage Photo from NebGuide “Controlling Vole Damage” by S. Vantassel, S. Hygnstrom, D. Ferraro

Voles are another species of wildlife that can do a great deal of damage to our plants in the winter months. If we receive enough snow cover, voles may feed on trees and shrubs, they will also gnaw on tree bark and roots, and potentially kill plants. To help prevent this, keep tall grass and weeds removed from around the trunk of trees and avoid mulch layers deeper than three inches. Placing hardware cloth around tree trunks will prevent vole feeding.

Winterizing Garden Equipment

2014-11-15 10.12.15

With fall here and winter on its way, we need to begin cleaning up our gardens. Fall cleanup does not end in the garden, for longevity of our gardening equipment, we need to clean it up and prepare it for winter months as well. If we take the time to cleanup our equipment and store it in the best locations, our tools can be an investment to help us in the garden for many years.

100_0852The first step is to clean up your vegetable gardens when you are done with them for the year. Remove tomato cages and clean them up for storage in a garage or shed to help them last for multiple years. Remove all plants and compost them or put them in the trash if they had problems with insects or diseases this year. Till up your garden this fall and incorporate manure or compost to help with organic matter next year. After tilling, cover the bare soil with some type of mulch to avoid wind erosion of topsoil, grass clippings or straw will work well for this and it can be tilled into the soil next spring.

When completed with hoses for the year, be sure to drain them of any water. Then coil the hose and hang it on a hook or in a hose reel station for the winter months. You can always get the hoses back out during the winter on warm days to water trees and shrubs if the winter is dry, just be sure to drain them when done watering in the winter months.

Flickr image courtesy of Jennifer C. per CC license

Flickr image courtesy of Jennifer C. per CC license

When finished using any tools, be sure to clean all debris off of them. Scrape off caked on mud with a wire brush or steel wool. Sharpen pruning tools so they are ready to go next spring. Apply a light coat of an oil to prevent any rusting from occurring. These tools are best kept in a garage or a shed and out of the harsh winter elements to help them last longer.

For sprayers used during the season, the best cleanup would be a triple rinse. Rinse out the sprayers three times with water to remove any pesticide residue from the container. It may also be a good idea to clean nozzles and screens with soapy water. If the pesticide sits in those nozzles over the winter it will be difficult to clean them out next spring so that the equipment may be used again.

*Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended of those not mentioned and no endorsement by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension is implied for those mentioned.

*Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended of those not mentioned and no endorsement by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension is implied for those mentioned.

Pesticides and fertilizers can be stored for future use. Store all pesticides in their original containers with the label still attached. Store them in a cool, dry location where they won’t freeze, as this can be harmful for the product and the container. Do not allow granules or other dry pesticides to get wet.

As for power equipment, be sure to follow instruction manuals on care and servicing requirements. As a general rule, clean out grass clippings and other debris from underneath the lawnmower deck and clean all caked on mud from the tiller prior to winter storage. Also, sharpen lawnmower blades and check to see if the air filter needs to be changed at this time so they are ready to start mowing next spring. Be sure to turn off the equipment and disconnect the battery prior to any work done to avoid injury or other accidents. It is best not to store gasoline through the winter as it does not ignite easily making those machines work harder to use it.



The trees are beginning to turn beautiful fall colors, the leaves are beginning to fall, and scary movies are starting to come back into the theatres. This must mean Halloween is on its way.

The best part of Halloween, to me, is the pumpkins. I love the smell of a freshly carved pumpkin and the look of the carved pumpkins on my front steps lit up for Halloween night. Pumpkins can be used for a variety of things throughout October and November and they can be grown in your garden right in your own backyard.

Pumpkins are a member of the cucurbit family of garden plants, which includes cucumbers, squash, gourds, watermelons, cantaloupes, and zucchini. We can use them for eating, roasting the seeds, and carving for a Halloween decoration. We can also store them and use them for Thanksgiving decorations.

Flickr image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan per CC license

Flickr image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan per CC license

If you grow pumpkins in your garden, it is now time to begin harvesting them, if you haven’t already started. Pumpkins can be harvested when they are mature in color and when they have a firm rind, when your fingernail does not puncture the rind when lightly pushed into it. It is best to remove all pumpkins prior to or within 1-2 days after a killing frost. Cut pumpkins off of the rind leaving 3-4 inches of stem on the pumpkin to help them resist organisms that lead to decay.

After the pumpkins are harvested, they should be cured to last longer in storage. Leave pumpkins in an area where they receive 80-85 degree temperatures with 80-90 percent relative humidity for 10 days. Pumpkins will store if not cured, but they will store longer, up to 3 months, if they are cured first. After cured, they are best stored in areas of 50-55 degree temperatures.

It is best to use the correct pumpkin for the task, such as using a jack-o-lantern pumpkin for carving and a processing pumpkin for making pies. Both types of pumpkins can be used for either activity, but they work better if you get the right type for the task at hand. However, you do not want to carve a pumpkin and use it for Halloween and then use it for making a pumpkin pie. A carved pumpkin is a perishable item, therefore cannot be used for baking or cooking if it has been left out, after being carved into, for more than 2 hours.

2014-10-30 19.13.41

Many people are concerned about the length of time a carved pumpkin will last on their front porch. The problem is that there isn’t a good treatment to get them to hold that carving for very long. The best idea is to wait until no more than one week before Halloween until you carve your pumpkin. It is best for the carving if you can do it as close to Halloween as possible. Another thing that will help with longevity of a pumpkin for Halloween is to ensure that you purchase or pick a pumpkin in good condition. Avoid pumpkins with soft spots, signs of decay, short stems, and other signs to show that decay has already begun in the pumpkin. If decay is already present in the pumpkin before you carve into it, it will ruin your carving that much sooner. If the weather is warm outside, store the pumpkins in a cool area until Halloween to keep the carving intact. Hopefully all of these tips can help you grow a great pumpkin and have a great pumpkin for Halloween. Happy Halloween!

Plants for Shade

Fall is finally here. We can look forward to cooler weather, more things to do in the lawn and garden, and football. Fall is a great time to plant a tree. When planting that tree, remember to plant it correctly and utilize the correct plants and mulches underneath the tree.

2013-06-03 14.51.07

Trees are vital to life. They change Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen for us to breath in. They are also a great advantage to our landscapes. Trees give us shade to reduce our cooling bills, block winds to reduce our heating bills, increase the value of our homes, and make us happier. Research has proven that hospital patients with a view of greenspace heal quicker than those without a view of landscaping.

When planting a tree, choose one that is well suited for our environment and for your particular needs of the tree, i.e. shade, flower, fruit, height, etc. Remember to check for clearance as that tree will grow, read the label for mature height and check for power lines and other objects that would impede the natural growth. Dig the hole to be twice as large and only as deep as the rootball that your tree has. Remove all burlap, twine, and wires from the rootball and backfill around the rootball with the soil that was removed for the hole. Water the tree in well after planting and if staking is used, make sure that it is loose around the tree and it is only left on for one growing season.

Even though trees are great to have in our landscapes, they can cause problems to the turfgrass growing underneath. Turf is not the best option to grow under heavy shade of trees as it constantly faces pressure from weeds and diseases and thins out quickly and often. Shady areas of your landscape do not have to be the part of your landscape that you have to constantly deal with, it can be a place to enjoy shade tolerant plants and escape from the sun on hot days outdoors.

There are many great plant choices for shade. To determine what will grow best in your shade location, you need to know just how shady the site is. You need to know when and how long the area is in sun and when and how long it is in shade. It might be necessary to re-visit the site several times during the day to document when and where the sun is received as the day progresses.

Just knowing that the area is in shade during the day does not give us enough information to know which plants will grow best in the area. It is also important to know whether the sun a plant receives is in the morning or in the afternoon. The intensity of the sun in these locations would differ greatly. For example, plants such as azaleas, holly, and clematis grow healthier in morning sun than they would in afternoon sun, even if the total hours of sunlight were the same.

Great choices for plantings of shady areas include the following

Shade perennial Collage


  • Anemone
  • Astilbe
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Bergenia
  • Columbine
  • Foxglove
  • Coral Bells
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Helleborus
  • Toad Lily
  • Virginia Bluebells
  • Hostas
  • Hydrangea

shade groundcovers Collage

Ground Covers

  • Bugleweed
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Vinca
  • Purple leaf wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’)

Shade shrubs Collage


  • Alpine Currant
  • Chokeberry
  • Cotoneaster
  • Red twig, yellow twig, Cornelian Cherry, and Gray Dogwoods
  • Ninebark
  • Privet
  • Snowberry
  • Coralberry

As you can see, there are many different plants that can be planted underneath trees that will actually grow much better than turfgrass that will struggle and compete with weeds throughout the growing season. With any landscaping bed or area surrounding a tree, a nice layer of 2-3 inches of organic mulch, such as woodchips, will benefit the area by helping to conserve moisture, keep temperatures consistent, and combatting weeds.