Urban Gardening

September Q&A


Serviceberry

Question: I would like some ideas for shrubs that I can plant in semi-shade to full shade here in St. Louis. I'm looking for something that will only grow 6 feet tall, not spread far, and attract birds and butterflies.

Answer: That's a tall order because most plants that produce a lot of flowers and fruits to attract wildlife need sun. Plus, the typical soil in St. Louis is alkaline limestone, so standard shade-lovers like rhododendrons, mountain laurels, and hollies can be difficult to grow. Here is list of some blooming and/or fruiting shrubs for semi-shade that you might consider. All have some varieties that grow 6 feet tall or shorter.

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) - produces flowers and fruits; somewhat spreading

Dogwood (Cornus spp.) - produces flowers and fruits

Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.) - produces flowers

Grape holly (Mahonia spp.) - produces fruits

Ninebark (Physocarpus spp.) - produces flowers

Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) - produces flowers and fruits; somewhat spreading

Question: I recently bought a house and am currently working on the backyard. There are two tree stubs that I can't get out of the ground. What should I do to remove them?

Answer: Removing stumps can be a tough problem in urban yards. Bulldozers or pickup trucks with chains are the easy way to pull up stumps, if you have the room. Many city lots, however, cannot accommodate large vehicles easily. For those places the best option is a stump grinder. It resembles a cross between a tiller and a saw. You can rent them from hardware or construction stores. One or two people will easily be able to handle the machine and grind the stump below ground level. Remember to check for rocks, bricks, metal, wire, and pipes in the area before you start. Happy grinding!

From September 2007 E-newsletter

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