Options for Tough Landscape Areas Requires Research

By Walliser, Jessica | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 26, 2009 | Go to article overview

Options for Tough Landscape Areas Requires Research


Walliser, Jessica, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Question: My neighbor has a steep bank on my side of the house. Years ago, I planted Canadian hemlocks there, but have since cut them down. Then I planted arborvitaes, but they browned on the bottom so we removed them too. I was told they turned brown because the water that collected at the bottom of the hill made it too wet for them. I'd like to plant another type of tree at the bottom or part way up the slope. Can you help me decide what trees, if any, are suitable?

Answer: There are several appropriate choices for your situation, though not all of them are trees. Selecting plants for a difficult area doesn't always leave you with many choices, but if you invest in the right kinds of plants, even if they aren't your first choice, you will be pleased with your success, although the plants themselves don't knock your socks off. Tough areas make for tough landscaping decisions.

The criteria we're selecting for in this situation are: The ability to handle occasionally saturated soil (but not constantly saturated, which would be a different ballgame), erosion control (to help hold the bank in place), partial sun (an assumption because arborvitae and hemlocks were planted there before), and attractiveness (of course!). Here are a few plants that meet these criteria:

Serviceberry: This is a beautiful native tree that thrives in full to partial sun.

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