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Avatar for rogersbernie07
Feb 5, 2018 9:42 AM CST
Thread OP

Good morning.
I'm located in Central MD. This morning I was informed by an arborist that the Ash Tree, that is the primary source of shade for my 20 yr old "Woodlands/Hosta and Fern Garden" has sustained enough damage from the Emerald Ash Borer that it is essentially on tree death row, and needs removed before it comes crashing down.
Moving the many, many, Hosta, is not a realistic option. I live on a hill of pure slate/rock and it's taken 20 years to slowly build up and inch this garden up the hill with the addition of hundreds and hundreds of pounds of purchased soil annually.
Every other location in my yard is exposed to full on brutal sun from 1 pm until the sun sets, during the growing season. There is no other place to move them and at the same time provide some shade.
I can't bear the thought of watching my Hosta slowly fry to death this year, and am desperately seeking any creative ideas. Tarps, canopys, and artificial means of shading are out, due to the fierce winds we get and inability to securely anchor posts in the rock.
My only thought atm is maybe planting some taller sun loving perennials that would shade the Hosta, yet not interfere with being able to see them? I don't know if such a perennial even exists?
Tree in question is the one in the middle, by the red pot. The tree to it's left (an oak) is dead and slated for removal in a month. Photo was taken 4 years ago, and the garden has expanded since then.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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Feb 5, 2018 11:08 AM CST
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Level 1
Which way does the site face, it looks like their are some trees behind the ash and the garden.
As Yogi Berra said, “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Avatar for rogersbernie07
Feb 5, 2018 12:48 PM CST
Thread OP

The garden faces west. The original picture was taken in the morning as the sun was coming up over the back of the hill behind the garden. The shade slowly creeps back (toward the garden) until about 4-5 pm, at which point the garden (with the Ash Tree still standing) is in full sun for about 2-3 hours, until sundown. It's been able to handle that so far.
The loss of the Ash tree and subsequent sun increase would mean the garden is in full sun 8 to 9 hours, with temps generally ranging from the upper 80s to upper 90s through July and August.

This is the rest of the yard, with no options of relocating the garden that I can determine.
This is all in full sun until sundown over the opposite hill. (I live in a valley.)
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Last edited by rogersbernie07 Feb 5, 2018 1:00 PM Icon for preview
Feb 5, 2018 7:34 PM CST
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Level 1
Wondering if you could place a nice perennial bed in front of that bed, made up of larger plants like Hibiscus, Lillies, self seeding Hollyhocks, Baptisias maybe some ornamental grasses, etc.
As Yogi Berra said, “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Feb 9, 2018 6:14 AM CST
Name: Rose
Oquawka, IL (Zone 5a)
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I've lost 3 trees in one bed over the last 3 years, so I know how you feel. Fortunately, they only get full sun until mid-afternoon. Last winter we gave the tree trimmers that the power company hires permission to cut down 2 river birch in one of my beds. What I didn't realize was how much they planned on trimming the hickory trees in that bed! The southern part of that bed is now exposed to full sun until about 4pm. I've planted some hydrangea bushes in the border of the bed for some shade. I was surprised at how well the shade plants did in the sunny area. Keep them watered during the hot summer months. You might be surprised how well they do.
When all is said and done, there’s more said than done.
Avatar for Ster17
Mar 7, 2018 9:49 AM CST

Good question.
Last edited by Ster17 Mar 7, 2018 9:50 AM Icon for preview
Mar 7, 2018 9:57 AM CST
Utah (Zone 7a)
You can build a potable lattice wall and position it according to the seasons... or pergola posts and put up a cover in He hottest months.

You can create shade from more than just a tree.
Mar 7, 2018 10:02 AM CST
Utah (Zone 7a)
This person has Hosta in full sun. He just has open pergola posts he can put up a shade curtain during July and August. He leaves them uncovered during the spring and fall without adverse effects.

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Mar 7, 2018 10:08 AM CST
Utah (Zone 7a)
You can build something like this for under a hundred dollars.

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Make it a garden room...

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Mar 7, 2018 10:45 AM CST
Utah (Zone 7a)
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Mar 22, 2018 11:31 AM CST
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
Hostas Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Canadian Enjoys or suffers cold winters Composter
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I also lost a large ash tree a few years ago. We and our original neighbour had planted it squarely on the lot line in 1971 after digging it out of local bush. And it was primary shade for some of my hostas.

Some of those hostas had to be moved. but I was amazed how well others did. Do you have a good source of water? If they are grown in sun they will need more water. But before you move everything, you might want to watch for a few years. Oh yes, plant a new tree of some type. In my case, I was lucky because there was already a Mountain Ash (not an ash really, so not susceptible to EAB) volunteer nearby and I just let it grow. In a year or two it will be providing decent filtered shade.

As far as the hostas, I had to move 'Avalanche', 'Heavenly Tiara' and 'Raspberry Sundae'. RS grew well but faded to an ugly colour. 'Curly Fries', 'Roller Coaster Ride', 'Little Treasure' all thrived in full sun. I moved 'Sun Power' to this location as it was languishing in a spot too dark and it likes it much better but by mid August it is really crispy. It's a myth that it will take full sun. However, I think it will do OK until the tree gets larger. Many others grew better with more light but some started to look a bit crispy before the end of August. Others just faded but still grew well.

I do suggest that you not make any drastic changes until you give the plants time to adjust to more sun and give yourself time to observe and note what grows well and what doesn't.

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at:
Mar 20, 2019 6:23 PM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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How did the hosta fare last summer?
We're all learners, doers, teachers.
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