The Q&A Archives: What to grow with blue spruce(flowers or shrubs)?

Question: We have just planted 4 beautiful blue spruce trees as a beginning landscaping in our back yard in upstate NY justsouth of Rochester. I would like to know what type of flowering shrubs/pereniials can be palnted with them. The mounded area is quite large. The area receives full sun and quiter a bit of wind from the west. It is on the south side of the house. The rest of the yard is bare of plants but includes a new stone patio which we would also like to plant around. Soil tends to be clayish and needs lots of treatment. Deer and rabbits frequent the area occasionally.

Answer: If you have deer in your yard, you will need to plan on fencing them out or limiting yourself to plants that are relatively deer resistant and perhaps also applying a spray on deer repellant. Luckily, Colorado spruce are consistently deer resistant. Please understand that deer resistant does not mean deer proof. You may find the following information about planting in deer country helpful. You may see some inconsistencies between the lists of resistant plants because local populations tend to eat different plants, they also learn to eat new plants over time. You may need to cut and paste the complete url into your browser to make it work correctly.

The rabbits can also destroy woody plants by chewing their bark in the winter, so at the least you will need to install rabbit guards.

As far as perennials go, keep in mind that the trees will eventually grow quite large, as will any shrubs. Also, your mound or bermed area will be relatively well drained, to the point of being dry at the top. Perennials you might be able to grow would include daffodils, along with Amsonia, Baptisia, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, Echinacea purpurea, Dianthus, Coreopsis, Iris, Nepeta, ornamental grasses, Rudbeckia, and Salvias. You may find the following article interesting as well.

Last but not least, talk to your neighbors and your local county extension for information about what the local deer population seems to favor and avoid, this will be your most accurate information. As far as plant selection your county extension and your local professional nursery staff should be able to help you with selecting plants that will thrive in the areas you want to landscape as well.

Enjoy your new landscape!

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