This Landscape is Killing Me

by lesley on August 13, 2011

I’ve battled the landscape all week. Little plants are so easy to just pop in the ground and mulch up. But, these 17 Buckthorn shrubs about killed me. I needed to haul in about 20 wheel barrels of dirt to build up the space, then compost, then planting, then mulching. And, they are threatening to die on me. I am watering almost constantly to keep them perked up, but I think the heat has just been too much. I think the heat is loosening up, so I think they will be happier now. These border the fence line behind the patio. Vinca (Periwinkle) is planted below them as ground cover. It doesn’t look like much now, but the vinca will cover the entire ground area within a few years. I think the shrubs can grow as tall as 10 feet tall, but Tim intends to keep them trimmed to the fence height.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia August 31, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I was googling , trying to locate a neighborhood of mid century houses I came upon near DU, when I found your blog.

My eyebrows shot up when I read about your planting buckthorn. I have spent countless hours of toil pulling it OUT of my yard and surrounding public areas. LOL. I wouldn’t worry about the shrubs dying….. they can survive just about anything! Your bigger worry might be the shrubs killing the vinca.

I live in Minnesota, where buckthorn is the scourge of every wooded area, and on the invasive species list. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/woody/buckthorn/index.html

Good luck!

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Lesley August 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Hi there! I just pulled our plant receipt to see what variety of Buckthorn we installed. Looks like we got Rhamnus frangula ‘Columnaris’, which is a horticultural variety that is recommended for Colorado (according to the State extension site) because it does well in dry conditions and poor soil. But, after looking up more stuff on the web, it looks like it’s a crazy, bad weed in lots of eastern and midwest states like your Minnesota home.

We planted a row of the buckthorn last year on our east yard fence line…the vinca underneath those shrubs are thriving and doing better than the vinca in the rest of the yard.

I had a moment of panic when I got your comment, but then remembered that Tim is pretty uptight, ahem rigorous, when it comes to plant selection since he’s a landscape architect. ha ha!

Tim did enlighten me about my planting “technique”. Apparently, I buried the root ball under the soil and the plants were suffering. He pulled them up so that the root balls would be above ground and they immediately perked up and got happy.

It sounds like Buckthorn is a lot like the crazy kudzu growing over everything in my home state of Louisiana. The joke there is that kudzu will grow over anyone sitting for too long, too.

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