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Name: Catherine
SW Louisiana (Zone 9a)
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jerseyridgearts
Sep 30, 2017 6:34 PM CST
Hello all...we've mostly survived our first two weeks in zone 9a (except for the a/c quitting and somehow I got a nasty virus; DH is suffering with sinuses - or allergies - maybe ligustrum?).

I met my backyard neighbor today - Mrs. Betsy...wonderful woman of 90 who made it across the yard in the truly death defying heat to say hello today. She tells me that the live oaks that separate our yards (and are underplanted with nothing) turn from dry lifeless dirt to a mudpile once it rains

Mrs. Betsy thinks adding more dirt might be the trick but I'm wondering if that would work - seems like a drain would be needed before adding dirt. I'd rather underplant something (they have cannas around the base of the trees). but I need a zone 9a groundcover for heavy shade that is both dry and then wet. Any ideas or experiences. I will say that the birds are wonderful in the tall trees....early morning is a concert.

p.s. I'm thinking that maybe a chicken coop and a few birds might fit there but Mrs. Betsy will need to agree first.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Sep 30, 2017 7:07 PM CST
A versatile ground cover here is Horse Herb.
Porkpal
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Nov 13, 2017 6:15 PM CST
Well, since most mud in Louisiana sprouts Crayfish, that could be sticky. Remember oaks throw tannins that can kill plants under them. Herbs, hmmm, most herbs dont like water. We use tradescantia, vining vinca, sweet potato vines, liriope to keep back the bare earth.
kitt

vurbil
Jan 2, 2018 1:01 PM CST
Live oaks are a problem. Great tree overall, but I don't think they belong in suburban yards. They get way too big and cast way too much shade for that application in my opinion. I had a similar situation that you're describing. I don't think any ground cover is going to yield a good result. I mulched the entire area under the trees and planted shade tolerant shrubs. Some others with more knowledge/experience may chime in and disagree, but based on my knowledge/experience there just really aren't many or any good ground covers for that kind of shade. There are shrubs and smaller trees that are adapted to live in the understory though.
Name: Catherine
SW Louisiana (Zone 9a)
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jerseyridgearts
Jan 3, 2018 12:49 PM CST
I've come to agree with you V - not a suburban tree at all. Our yard is almost an acre and the FOUR oaks take up 3/4.....pretty yes but full of squirrels and they exacerbate the nasty drainage problem we have (the seller failed to mention the flooding....)

I'm going to try understory shrubs - maybe swamp azaela, some ferns that like wet feet and I'm going to use leaves to try and mimic nature as a mulch.

Thanks for your input
I tip my hat to you.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jan 10, 2018 3:17 PM CST
My vote would be to use mulch. Granted, it does need to be replenished a little too often. I have Red Oaks as do my neighbors. Not much luck with any understory plants.
Name: Catherine
SW Louisiana (Zone 9a)
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jerseyridgearts
Jan 10, 2018 3:49 PM CST
I was told I have two live oaks and 4 'water' oaks....I really need to find someone local to confirm that, Sighing!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jan 10, 2018 9:25 PM CST
It probably doesn't matter what type of oaks they are in terms of finding a groundcover or whatever. The thing that really matters is whether you have Red Oaks and that's because they're the oaks that are susceptible to the deadly Oak Wilt Disease. Makes me very paranoid.
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jan 10, 2018 10:07 PM CST
Quercus nigra, water oaks. I will take a pic in the morning for you. I have 2 types oaks, Post oak and Q nigra. We have no yard, basically, intentionally, but live oaks can be cleaned along the limbs and create more air flow...
kitt
Coastal TX (Sunset 28/31) (Zone 9a)
JuniperAnn
Jan 10, 2018 10:43 PM CST
Here are results at the Wildflower Database for Texas perennials <=3' high that live in wet soils and full shade. Most of these grow in zone 9a. Bear in mind that plants rated for "full shade" will survive in full shade, but not necessarily thrive. For instance, Obedient Plant is listed as a full shade, but mine never bloomed once until I moved it to a sunny spot.

https://www.wildflower.org/pla...
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jan 11, 2018 1:14 AM CST
Good work, @JuniperAnn.

I see that you're a relatively new member of NGA and if I haven't said it already, welcome.

I also see that you're familiar with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and that you can do a good search. Well done. Except I don't see Obedient Plant in the list, or were you just saying? And as much as I would like an Obedient Plant, I've never seen them referred to as shade plants.

Search results show a lot of ferns. No surprise there. What I love is the common name of the last plant on the list — Mountain death camas. A perfect finish.
Name: Catherine
SW Louisiana (Zone 9a)
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jerseyridgearts
Jan 11, 2018 8:04 AM CST
oh boy - thanks everyone for all the good info. Hopefully not red oaks. My first order of business will be to talk to the city about the drainage issue - may be the culvert (buried along the road) needs mending or cleaning....maybe a second culvert/coulee? And then I'm thinking ferns for the really bad areas....maybe some swamp azalea? Lots of mulch where I can.
Coastal TX (Sunset 28/31) (Zone 9a)
JuniperAnn
Jan 11, 2018 10:22 AM CST
Thanks for the welcome, tx_flower_child. Obedient plant (physostegia Virginiana) didn't make the list; I was just usIng it as an example of what "full shade" may mean. It's listed for "moist" sil, not wet, tho the Wildflower Center says it tolerates poor drainage. https://www.wildflower.org/pla...

Good luck with the culvert, Jersey Ridge Arts.

Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jan 11, 2018 11:30 AM CST
Pics of water oaks- leaf
Thumb of 2018-01-11/kittriana/8e8cb8

Bark patterns

Thumb of 2018-01-11/kittriana/ae42d8


Thumb of 2018-01-11/kittriana/cb9f66


Thumb of 2018-01-11/kittriana/72dcfb

And tree eventual height
Thumb of 2018-01-11/kittriana/e94e09

Don't confuse that whitish bark with yaupons either, but they do mimic

Thumb of 2018-01-11/kittriana/ab4b00

Welcome!
kitt
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Jan 11, 2018 8:53 PM CST
I thought about this when I posted that Red Oaks are susceptible to Oak Wilt Disease but decided to check my memory. So I'm sorry to say that Live Oaks are also susceptible. Being susceptible does not mean that the oaks are going to get Oak Wilt. It only means that they could.

Research continues is all that I can say.

Here's a link to an article about Oak Wilt. It's written by my arborists.
http://www.arborilogical.com/h...
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jan 11, 2018 11:00 PM CST
Red Oak, and RED Maple do not survive the caliche limestone caprock that runs thru Duncanville, and they don't color down in the south without a freeze snap, the wilt, well, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.
kitt

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