planting near tree roots - Knowledgebase Question

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Avatar for chris154
Question by chris154
June 9, 2005
i purchased 3 rose of sharon to plant near a wooded area. these were selected as a screen. my friend lives near a wooded area that also backs up to a major road. her back patio sits lower than the wooded area and she can see under the large trees in wooded area right to the road (guardrails, traffic, etc.) she'd like this somehow concealed. there's is quite a bit of sun in this area, but not FULL SUN. when i dug the holes for the hibiscus, there were SO MANY LARGE ROOTS from the surrounding trees (oak?) that have been there forever.....should a still plant the hibiscus or can you suggest some other form of screen? the patio is really nice and she and her husband love to entertain out there. I did plant viburnum on the one side that was much further away from the roots of all the trees....really, really appreciate any advice:) thanks!!

Answer from NGA
June 9, 2005
Unfortunately, in my experience rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) really needs full sun all day long to grow and bloom well. So I don't think it will do well for you there. Tree roots can be very difficult to garden around, they steal moisture and nutrients from the soil making it tough for a new plant to become established. Since your friend needs quick screening, I would suggest possibly a lattice frame and growing a vine on that. Most vines need full sun, but sweet autumn clematis will grow in partial sun, as will Virginia creeper or Parthenocissus. Most vines take a year or two to become established but are then strong growers and one vine will give a lot of coverage. In the meantime perhaps she could hang a few containers of annuals there. Another option would be to use large planters such as half barrels with patio trees in them. (You would need a protected place to overwinter these.) Yet another option would be to use a large patio umbrella angled to block the view. Depending on the space, a low but attractive fence, installed at some point between the patio and the edge of the woods might also do the job. This could have a bench seat added to it to provide extra seating for larger groups of guests, or a flat top where you could place container plants. I hope this gives you some ideas.

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