We are located in Doylestown Pa. and are surrounded with heavy clay soils. The soils in our area will not support plants that can't tolerate wet feet. Thus our nursery does not offer plants such as Firs . We do have some spots that will grow firs where the topsoil is deepest and well drained. Over the years we have tried to modify soils using compost and drain tiles. Yet long term nature wins out.
The home owner will want to plant species that are not found naturally in their area so the home owner will want to modify their soils. On a small scale this is possible. The use of mounds , the addition of sand, compost and drain tiles is effective in modifing clay to make growing clay intolerant plants possible. Usually large amounts of snad and compost is needed. But be aware that building up the soil in one area can make more problems in adjacent areas.
We also suggest that if you don't see a plant going in your area, only purchase seedlings or inexpensive container plants to try in your landscape before spending large amounts of money on large plants only to find out they are not hardy in your soils.
The following list is suggested plants that do better in clay soils.
Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
European alder (Alnus glutinosa)
River birch (Betula nigra) we have Heritage and Common River birches
Okay campers: This tree proves that scientists don't know when a tree is extinct. Fossil records showed that this tree was extinct for 35 million years, yet this deciduous conifer fooled them all until 1945 when it was rediscovered in a remote valley of Central China in 1945. Dawn Redwood or The Dinosaur Tree, is offically called, "Metasequoia glyptostroboides".
The Dawn Redwood first came to America in 1945 in seeds and has shown to be viable in zones 6 to 8. This tree grows fast and can reach 75 to 100 feet by 25 feet in diameter. It likes full sun to partial shade and is tolerant of moist to dry soils with ph ranges of 3.7 to 7.0. Go ahead and plant it in clay soils, loam or sand. Its bright green, feathery, needle-like foliage will turn brown and will drop quickly in the fall. Thus this plant will be suitable for a great summer screen or a specimen plant.
This plant is great for a Hort 101 beginner. It is easy to grow, pest free, adaptable, grows fast, and has soft bright green needles, and of course we have hundreds of 3-4' plants ready for your landscape.
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