Managing shady landscapes is a challenge for home gardeners. The most common fixes for too much shade involve pruning the trees or removing them entirely. Of course, removing the trees is a drastic measure, which affects wildlife populations and changes the entire character of the landscape.
1. Eliminate Broken and Dead Wood in Trees for More Light and Airflow
Dead and broken branches in trees can shade up to 50 percent of the ground underneath. To increase the amount of light and airflow, eliminate any dead or dying branches and any branches that would block sunlight from reaching the ground. When pruning trees, remember to maintain the tree’s natural shape. Prune so that the tree is still balanced.
2. Plant Prune Trees to Increase Light Penetration
If you are more worried about the shade of trees than the actual health of the trees, try pruning the uppermost branches. Pruning the canopy back will enable more light to reach lower branches, particularly if you are pruning back some branches in the middle of the tree canopy. It is important to note that this may not be an option for all trees, as some trees have very dense canopies, and thinning them out will make the trees look sparse, although you might be willing to consider it for a tree that provides privacy for your home’s entrance.
3. Don’t Overfertilize Your Plants
The roots in the top of a shaded area tend to stay moist and wet, causing plants to grow tall and lanky. Nitrogen and phosphorus, the two nutrients most commonly applied with fertilizer, encourage leaf growth at the expense of root growth. Plants that grow up in shady areas are not putting all their energy into growing roots and storing energy over the winter. They are going to be weak and may not survive the winter.
4. Maintain Tree Pruning to Young Trees
Trees planted in a shady area tend to grow taller and lankier than trees with the same species, age, and size planted in a sunnier spot. In addition to general plant maintenance, make sure that you have a maintenance plan for trees in shadier areas. Trees need to be trimmed regularly to stop them from growing into your house or blocking your view.
5. Check to See if There Are Other Shady Spots
Your property may have undetected areas of shade that you didn’t realize. For example, you may have a landscape feature like a tall retaining wall that also blocks the sun. The sun’s effects can also be blocked by other objects, such as cars and garden furniture, so check these areas.
6. Choose Plants for an Open Woodland
If you have dense woodland, you may want to eliminate some trees. You can do this by removing trees or planting an understory of plants that will flourish in shady conditions, such as violets, hydrangeas, and wood ferns. These plants will create an open woodland that may be more attractive to birds, insects, and mammals.
Although managing a shady landscape is difficult, it does not take a lot of time to maintain a healthy area. If you follow these gardening tips and seasonal guidelines from the start, you will be able to keep your land and plants healthy for years to come.
ATL Tree Work has been servicing the needs of Atlanta homeowners and businesses since 2003. We pride ourselves on consistently giving our commercial and residential customers exceptional results at affordable prices, without compromising quality of service. If you need tree pruning services in Johns Creek, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch with us today and let us know how we can help!