Question: I am desperately trying to plant some shrubs in an small area that is heavy in clay- faces the south and has full sun. I love the Viburnums and the Willow Hakuro Nishiki but not sure if the soil will choke it has it has done so many other tester shrubs. I also have a shady spot that is heavy in clay. I would like to place a tall 5 foot high ornamental plant that turns orange/red in fall.

Answer: Viburnums tolerate heavy clay and/or wet soils, as does that willow, so give one a try. V. plicatum tomentosum is a good place to start. They take full sun to partial shade. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) thrives in boggy soils and takes full sun to partial shade. Also deciduous, female plants have beautiful red or orange berries. Redtwig dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) provides red foliage in fall, and red twigs in winter. It is native to moist soils in the eastern U.S. ALLEMAN'S COMPACT RED-OSIER DOGWOOD
Cornus sericea 'Alleman's Compact' (C. stolonifera) is 5 to 6 feet tall. Good luck with your difficult growing conditions!

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