Dennis, I've appreciated your tips and guidance for years.
We live in Red Oak Hills, just west of 435 and Shawnee Mission Parkway. I need to add a few evergreen trees/shrubs to my woodland, very sloped backyard and would like your recommendations for small evergreen trees that will survive in this area.
We've created numerous rock gardens and nooks, brought in a ton of soil, and use leaf mulch.
I tried four mountain hemlock (ordered online) -- they all looked great and then literally overnight all the needles fell off ... of one, then the next, and so on. (I'm wondering if I have a mole or some-such that ate the roots. There are mysterious holes and soft ground in the same area.)
Once I get a few evergreen staples in, I'll plant rhododendrun, holly, azalea, etc. Can you recommend any juniper, cypress, pine, spruce, etc. that would do okay and look at-home in a woodland setting? Some corners might have deep shade in summer, but mostly moderate/dappled shade. Green giant arborvitae is not the right look; spring grove arborvitae might be okay if it can tolerate moderate shade (?). I'm not worried about height as I have a canopy of large red/white oak, etc.
Any recommendations? Thank you! Michon
Evergreens are wonderful in the landscape but Kansas City is not evergreen country. Our heat, winds and drought make evergreens difficult. Then throw in a shady location and it get even more difficult. As you have found out hemlock is difficult and not highly recommended. Here are some suggestions in order from most heat and drought tolerant to least.
Junipers – come in a variety of heights and widths. Look for varieties that fit you needs. Some of my favorite uprights are Taylor, Canaert, and Spartan.
Norway Spruce – a number of cultivars with varying heights.
Blue Spruce – many selections and nice color
Riverside Spruce – nice texture
Arborvitae - nice form
All the spruces and arborvitae would need supplemental irrigation for life for best growth. Also since they will be in a shady location that plants will not be as lush and thick. Yews would also be an option but are shrubs not trees. Hope this helps and let me know if you have additional questions.
Dennis – Johnson County Extension
The KSU bulletinWhat Shall I Plant? is a very good starting point. It lists both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs that do well in our area and includes size, bloom time, leaf color, fall color, cultural conditions, etc. Here is the link
There are a host of other bulletins on trees and shrubs that thrive in this region linked toour website
, click on Lawn and Garden, Publications, then Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines. Also you will find information on how to plant successfully.
Carole - Johnson County Extension Master Gardener