|Looking for semi-shade shrubs to replace 30 yr old sun shrubs that died out due to tree growth over the years. Trees have been cut back and now have dappled sunlight with 2-3 hrs of direct overhead sun midday. Watering is also an issue. Also, do I need to amend the soil, red clay mix, before soil testing? If so, what should I use for amendment?|
|I'd vote for planting native shrubs. They enjoy the climate and the soil conditions and are relatively trouble free. Some shrubs to consider include: Florida Leucothoe (Leucothoe populifolia), American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus), Strawberry-Bush (Euonymus americanus), or Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). Each of these shrubs will grow in partial sun and all can be pruned to keep them within bounds if your garden is small.
To answer the second part of your question, don't amend the soil prior to having it tested. A soil test, available through your local county extension office for a nominal fee, will provide information on the nutrient content and pH level of the soil. Many soils in Georgia are acidic (pH less than 7.0). Most native plants grow well at a slightly acidic pH around 6.0, although some ericaceous plants, like blueberries and rhododendrons, prefer strongly acid soils having a pH below 5.0. Native plants generally do not require supplements to their native environment, but other shrubs might. The soil test will provide recommendations for amendments and you can amend your soil prior to planting.
Best wishes with your new shrubs!