perennial flower seeds that will grow in a wooded area in zone 4.

Asked June 25, 2020, 10:34 AM EDT

We have been clearing buck thorn (large trees down to small seedlings) from our woods and would like to plant perennial seeds to replace it with flowers that will grow in wooded area under mature trees. What kind of zone 4 perennial flower seeds will grow in a wooded area? We are not only trying to replace the buckthorn with something nice, but would like to protect the ground from erosion. We know we have a never ending job ahead of us trying to keep up with new buck thorn. Also, what should we be spraying the stumps with? Round up isn't working. Thank you.

Anoka County Minnesota

2 Responses

In a shaded woody area you will need ground covers meant for shade. Consider Ajuga or pachysandra ground cover, There are some plants/shrubs that will grow in shade but you must consider your soil type and whether there will be moisture or dry conditions. https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/gardening-shade
Trying to seed the area will be difficult. Also, as you are using Round Up it will also prevent seeds from sprouting or kill them as they come up. Controlling buckthorn is a long process. You do not spray the cut stub but paint it immediately while it is still fresh with your herbicide. Management includes hand-pulling seedlings or small trees. A tool called a weed wrench can also assist with removing plants up to 2 ½-inches in diameter. Some local SWCD or other offices have them for check-out or rent. For larger trees with 2-inch or larger diameter trunk the plant should be cut down to the ground and the stump should be treated with chemical herbicide to prevent re-sprouting. Brush or tree killing products containing triclopyr, glyphosate, or 2-4D. There are also other methods of treatment such as foliar application or basal stem or bark treatment but recognize that a foliar treatment may also kill other desired species from spray drift. Utilizing a disposable brush may be a good option to spot treat only the buckthorn. Always follow label instructions for herbicides. This can be affective if temperatures are above freezing.

Thank you for all the information. We will use your suggestions and will research shade plants as you suggested.