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Help For a Shady Yard  RSS feed

 
Jacob Coulter
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I have a very small back yard (~900 sq ft) surrounded by mature trees. There is no direct sun at all. Right now, it very sparse weeds and grass with big patches of bare dirt. We are planning to mulch the whole thing using either 3 round bales of hay or 11 yards of woodchips. Our big decision at this point is whether or not we remove the 4 large maple trees that line the south side of the yard so that we can get some sun on the southern half of the yard. The maples are nearly a foot in diameter. There are a lot of power lines to contend with so this would involve a tree service. If the trees do come down, they'll provide most of our needed mulch and some firewood

The goal would be to turn most of the yard into an eden or ruth stout style garden.

So, do they need to come out or can I make something awesome in a full-shade garden?
 
Zach Muller
gardener
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Welcome jacob,

Here in my climate Some shadiness can work to my advantage since it gets super hot and humid at times, but a full shade garden is a tough one.

Maples are one tree that are so common i kind of take them for granted. They get huge, and i am so used to seeing them that i prefer almost any other tree. If i had a row of maples blocking my sun i would take them out, knowing their seeds are everywhere and more would eventually come up, perhaps in better locations. A 1 ft diameter maple is rather small compared to how it will end up. I have one coppiced maple in my front yard, and one in the back too. You might consider this option to keep harvesting from the maples but keep them shorter.

You can make awesome gardens in full shade, but awesomeness in the partial sun is so much easier and flexible.
 
Kate Muller
Posts: 193
Location: New Hampshire
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Maples create an amazing amount shade. The leaves are fantastic for mulch.

My yard had between 2 to 4 hours of sunlight due to the tree and various buildings. I am in northern New England zone 5b. I used to have a 400 sq ft backyard with a large maple tree on the east side. Taking the tree out was not an option since it was on the neighbors side to the property line. The maple tree was closer to 2 feet in diameter and sent huge amounts of roots into my compost pile, garden beds. The tree loved having all the nutrients and water form my garden.

If you are going to be growing annual veggies you will need at least 8 hours of full sun unless you just want to grow leafy greens. You may not need to take out all the trees but you will need to track the sunlight on the yard before the trees drop their leaves. Also keep in mind the tree roots will go farther than the width of the tree and they will seek out your garden beds.



 
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