gardening under hickorys?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by DayBird, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    How much shade can blueberries tolerate? I need to "landscape" under a hickory tree to help avoid erosion. I'd rather plant something that is useful but whatever that is needs to tolerate moderate shade. I have transplanted a couple of oakleaf hydrangeas but would rather have something edible.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Cindy in NY

    Cindy in NY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do an internet search for juglans wilt, I believe its called. Nut trees give off a toxin that will inhibit a lot of items from growing under or around them.
     

  3. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Blueberries need full sun but Wild blueberries grow in my hickory oak walnut woods. Not much fruit and they are always spindly but grow there wild. Another problem besides the juglone is you have dry shade with not much soil covering. Tough to grow anything at all in dry shade.
     
  4. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure, but I don't think hickory produces juglone. I think that is just Black Walnut and Butternut.
    "The walnut and the butternut of the walnut genus Juglans and the pecan, hickory nut, pignut, and mockernut of the hickory genus Carya."

    I think blueberry is a very good choice. It may not produce much fruit but it doesn't need much soil and it loves acid. It is as handsome and effective as any other woodland groundcover and you will get as much fuit as you get sun. Also you can mix ground cover blueberry with low/high bush blueberry and high bush blueberry and whatever grows grows. I would try something wild.
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG3463.html

    The other thing about hickory is that it lends itself to coppice management, so you can trim it back if you want the blueberries to establish themselves or bear more fruit, and the hickory will grow back quickly and you can use harvest the poles as firewood or building material as well as harvesting the nuts. Hickory and Blueberry. Throw in some critters and you have a beautiful and well managed mult-use landscape.

    This site talks about coppice management of hickory and associated forest cover including blueberries:
    http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/carya/tomentosa.htm
     
  5. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    If you throw in critters you won't even have blueberry plants.
    Hickories will take about twenty years to bear nuts after they are planted.
    Carya is in the family (Juglandaceae). Named for the chemical in them. Not unlike yews being called Taxus. That is the toxic chemical found in them.
    I wouldn't spend the money it takes to grow blueberries to risk planting them in the woods unless they are the wild cultivatars.
    Specifically Vaccinium Angustifolium (Wild blueberry) as they will do well in dry, acid, poor soils. Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) needs moist,acid,organic soils. With full sun. Dry soils will pretty much kill them right away.You almost have to mulch them to get them growing well. The only cultivar of highbush that I know that will grow in clay soils well is Patriot. Mainly because it is resistant to root rot. (Phytopthera) Not sure of the spelling.