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Old 08-16-2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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How much to cut down and how much to let stay.


Hello. I have recently bought a home and we are starting to think that the bushes in the front of the home are creating dampness in the storage area in the basement. In front of the home from left to right we have a large holly bush which is aprox 6' wide 5' deep and 5' tall. Next to that no space in between is a spreading hew probably 8' long 2' high and 2' deep next to that another holly bush as big as the other, space for front door entrance. Next bush spreading hew 4' wide 5' tall 3' wide next azelia about 3' wide 3' deep and 4' tall. Next another spreading hew another azelia another spreading hew another azelia of equal size as the others next a very large spreading hew 5' by 5' by 5' and a exlarge spreading hew at the end 6' tall 6' deep and 8' wide. all of these bushes are right up against the home and the ones after the door entrance are right up against the front of garage.
Now back to the question what should I rip out and what to cut back. I know it iswhat I prefer to keep but to help in basement for dampness reason. WIfe says rip all out and plant perinials. Just dont want it to look too naked from all too big to to little.

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Old 08-16-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
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How much to cut down and how much to let stay.


I should bring these away from house a bit but how far and should I replaces some bushes with just flowers or smaller bushes so some sun light gets through and dries the soil up a bit.

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Old 08-17-2008, 11:08 AM   #3
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How much to cut down and how much to let stay.


I doubt that the bushes are causing the dampness problem unless the roots have caused cracks in the foundation. Hard to say without a better look. Plants that size are going to suck up any water that gets in the soil if it stays there long. Which is why I say unless .... Just asking but how is the drainage in general? Gutters and downspouts? Might not have anything to do with the bushes! Sounds like you have a double header here. A: Find out where the moisture problem is really coming from. B: Get a better design. May be two ends of the same stick; may be two completely different sticks!

That said, the shading could cause some mold/mildew problems. You didn't mention that but I thought I would just throw it in.

A major problem a lot of people don't think about when planting is the mature size of plants. That's what it sounds like here. Or they just liked to prune a lot. I don't. If you like some shrubs there, there are lots of choices that will stay within bounds. Some of the smaller japanese azaleas could be nice if you like that spring show. They top out at around three feet.

I might leave the first large holly, depending on how well it anchors the corner of the house. Little bit of an architectural design point there and may not be important in your case. Could take out the yew in the middle and use that area for a flower bed with holly on each end if I'm seeing this right. Maybe? How close is the second holly crowding the front door? Might take it out and scratch the last idea.

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right up against the front of garage.
These would go if you mean they restrict access there or do you mean against the front wall of the house at the garage (like on a split-level) ? Not trying to be picky, just trying to understand better.

I am not a big fan of a,b,a,b,... that you have with the yew, azalea to the right of the front door. I prefer azaleas in groups for a mass of color and for that reason alone I would probably take them out. Most yews don't grow real fast and you could most likely get by with an annual shaping if you left them.

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Just dont want it to look too naked from all too big to to little.
Clean some of them out. Cut some of them back but leave enough to fill in and then start replanting with the perennials. After the p's start filling in, then take out the rest of the shrubs. Never have a bare spot.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:08 PM   #4
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How much to cut down and how much to let stay.


Thanks for the info and lastly when is it too late in the year to do this type of planting?Yes the front of the house looks like a 2 story with attached garage side view, pull into side of house to pull into garage. I do agree that corner holly furthest away from garage looks to be corner stone so maybe just bring that one down in size a bit. Thanks again look forward to more of your info on other topics!
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:00 PM   #5
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How much to cut down and how much to let stay.


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when is it too late in the year to do this type of planting?
If you mean perennials, any time is OK. The shopper in me starts looking most any time now for those end of the season deals that may look a little tired now but if you can resist the urge to have a big show right now, they will have all winter to get a good root system in place and be ready to go next year. Kind of like planting bulbs- you know that they are there, just have to be patient. I got some nice 'Lady in Red' hydrangeas at HD last year for 75% off. After all, year after year is the whole point of perennials. At least in my view. For quick color, through in a few annuals, pansies before too long, and you're good.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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How much to cut down and how much to let stay.


Downunder had the best advice - The moisture is not because of the plants. Its more likely due to a grading issue. I'll bet a dollar that over the years mulch has been added to the front of the bushes or that the ground behind them has settled, or both. And now you have ground sloping toward the house. Get a hoe, shovel and garden rake and see if you can change that grade to slope away and not toward the house. Make sure also that the dirt is not up against siding or wood.

Also, as said, gutters clean and downspoyts extending 4' to 6' away from house. Do all these things and you should be good.

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