Baltimore City Street Tree Pits

Asked January 9, 2020, 5:07 PM EST

Good Afternoon! I have been planting tree well's with native perennials for the last year in Baltimore city through an environmental grant. I am also a MD Master Gardener, still learning :) I thought I knew what would "work" but it has been such a beast due to many different variables. I organize with neighbrhos who agree to adpot the pit. I have found a few things that are working okay, and some others I thought would be very easy that are not. Off the top of your head, what's your recommendation for hardieness, drought tolerant, non-weedy looking, not too tall, compacted, nutrient-lacking, tree pits? And that are not a sedge varienty. Some pits are full sun now, but will be part sun soon, most are part sun. Thanks for brainstorming with me!

Baltimore Maryland

3 Responses

That is an admirable project!
We can imagine that all those variables are a challenge.

The plants that come to mind probably include some you have tried, but we suggest:
Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susans), Liatris spicata (Blazing Star), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed), Tickseed Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Bluestar Amsonia, Penstemon, Sedums (both groundcover and types like 'Autumn Joy', Physotegia (Obedient Plant), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and Salvias.
Many perennials only bloom for a few weeks, so if you want a long season of bloom you'd want to choose plants for a succession of bloom.

If the soil needs amending, adding organic materials like completed compost, Leaf-Gro, aged manure etc. is recommended.

Thank you so much!! We are using all except Penstemon and Physotegia so that will be fun to try and great suggestions! The Blazing star and BES have been winners, also using Phlox and Raydon's Favorite Aster (it's a little weedy tho). And the Leaf-gro is helpful. What are your feelings on Stipa Ten. Pony Tails? I get mixed information, the greenhouse is telling me it's native but some websites say it's invasive in some states. The grass looks amazing all year round but I'm a little nervous.

I personally am not familiar with the Stipa/Nassella, but it is absent from the Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping publication, and a quick search suggests its common name is 'Mexican Feather Grass' which makes me think it is not native.