TX Organic Research Center



Choosing ornamental trees for a shady area
October 18, 2012
By Howard Garrett

Q:  I am looking for an ornamental tree for my shady courtyard. I was told that 'Traveler' weeping redbud would do well. This area gets very little sun. I already have three Japanese maples in my yard, so I was trying to think of something different.  J.H., McKinney

A:  The weeping redbud is beautiful, but it does much better in full sun. Other choices to consider include dogwood, pawpaw, rusty blackhaw viburnum and palm trees. Yes, palms will do well in shade. For this location, check out needle palm and Mediterranean palm.


Q:  Our front yard does not drain well. A previous owner brought in soil to build up the front yard. We did a test to see how long it took water to drain from the area, and 24 hours later there was still water in the test hole. We need to replace the Arizona ash we removed. The location for the new tree is in full sun, about 12 feet from our house, about 5 feet from the driveway. I love the lacebark elm, but my husband thinks a pond cypress will do better. Does the pond cypress have knees?  E.M, Dallas

A:  The pond cypress does not have knees, but I strongly recommend that you look at Montezuma cypress. It is a much better tree: It's faster growing, almost evergreen, doesn't get brown in late summer, doesn't have knees and is spectacular looking.Q:  I bought a pound of fresh culinary ginger at the grocery store that has started to sprout. Can I plant it and grow it?  L.P., Denton

A:  Edible ginger is easy to grow, but it can't take cold weather. Planting now would have to be in a container so the plant can be protected indoors through the winter when temperatures are forecast to be near freezing. In spring, when all chance of frost has passed, move the pot outside. The link to ginger on my website:  click here.



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