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Garden plants versus Sycamore Trees


By Rangers

We have moved into a small cottage and need to re plant the garden. Unfortunately we have 3/4 sycamore trees so the question is what can we plant bearing in mind the tree sap, roots and leaf problems

Thank You Dave



If you've already got 3 or 4 sycamores, the biggest problem you will have is sycamore saplings or seedlings, by the million usually. That's usually why there's more than one sycamore present in the first place - its seeded itself. Any chance you can have them removed? Otherwise, need to know the aspect of the garden and how much shade from the trees the area gets, also where you are.

6 Jun, 2011


Our garden is north facing are on the border of the garden next to a 4 ft high privit hedge the trees create a lot of shade but we some get sun from the east first thing in the morning and through the day. We want to create a lawn and flowering plants dont know what to plant and will the sap from the sycamores effect the lawn and/or the plants.

Thank you


6 Jun, 2011


No, the sap and stuff won't affect the plants, though anything growing beneath might become sticky at certain times of the year, usually late spring or early summer, but that might not even happen. Your biggest problem is the degree of shadiness, because that will increase as the trees get bigger, and dryness because they take the moisture away. Growing a lawn in such conditions isn't a good idea, sounds like it'll be far too shady and you'll end up with too much moss and poor, patchy grass. When I said which area, I meant where do you live - not your address, but what part of the country - this is important from a plant hardiness point of view.

6 Jun, 2011


I live in Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire and am a bit of a novice gardener. I do not know what type of plants to set as I am a pensioner whilst I want low maintence I want to produce seasonal all year round colour spring bulbs perennials and shrubs appear to be the right selection of plants I assume with poss some roses ,dont know what to do if a lawn isnt poss

Kind Regards and many thanks for your help


7 Jun, 2011


If the area where you want a lawn receives half a day's sun, it should be okay - if its only a couple of hours, it won't be a great lawn, as I said before. Roses generally prefer at least half a day's sun.
Plants to consider (these are all ones which will cope with shade), shrubs: Mahonia aquifolium (not M. japonica); Aucuba japonica; Prunus 'Otto Luyken'; Skimmias (male and female plants, you need one of each if you want berries, or choose Skimmia reevesiana, which is unisex); Camellia; Pieris (these last 3 don't like alkaline or chalky soil); Hydrangea (part shade); Fatsia japonica; Sarcococca varieties; Euonymus fortunei varieties, Ribes sanguinam, both these in part shade. Perennials: Campanula persicifolia, Lysimachia, Foxglove, Primula/Primrose, Heucheras (part shade), hardy Fuchsias (part shade), Geraniums, Tiarella, Hosta, Astilbe (needs damp soil). Ground cover: Lamium maculatum varieties, Ajuga reptans, Campanula muralis. Note that when I say Geranium, I mean the Cranesbill types, not Pelargonium Geraniums - they come in all shapes and sizes - some are useful as ground cover being low growing, others can reach 3 feet, and everything in between. Bulbs: Lily of the Valley, Daffodil both fine in shade, Aconitum, Snowdrop, Crocus (these 3 like sun, but they'll have time to flower before the trees leaf up)
All plants mentioned are hardy, but the Fatsia should be somewhere sheltered. Japanese Acers would be good too - these need dappled shade and a sheltered spot out of the wind.

7 Jun, 2011


What Can I say you have been very kind and i will look in my garden books to look at th flowers/shrubs you refer to. i really need to try and make some lawn area would it be better if I used turf.

Again many thanks

Kind regards


7 Jun, 2011


Well funnily enough, if you have the energy and patience, seed would be best in this situation - you can buy special shady lawn seed, which means the grass should tolerate more shade than your average turf does.

7 Jun, 2011


If you want your lawn for sitting out on you could consider a paved area instead, perhaps leaving some gaps for low shrubs or perennials. You could if you like reduce the height of your privet hedge too - it responds well to quite drastic pruning and reducing it by a foot might make a difference to the light you get. Privet is a very greedy plant so trying to grow anything near it can be a problem as the soil will be poor and dry.

If you want labour saving colour I would go for lots of the hardy geraniums - there are so many varieties, and some prefer shady places. Two suggestions are Hocus Pocus, deep blue with reddish leaves. (shade lover) and sanguinium, which likes more sun and makes a neat mound covered with flowers all summer - but avoid the white one as it seems reluctant to flower at all for me!there are heaps more.

7 Jun, 2011

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