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Ground elder infested woodland, establishing other plants, shrubs etc recommendations

a1154a1154 Posts: 1,058
Part of my new plot is woodland. It was in heavy shade, but a runaway hedge on its south side has been reduced drastically, so it’s dappled shade now, but varies of course, there are some shady conifers. 
After having some trees removed, I have planted some new trees, and I want to establish some shrubs to give it more colour and interest.  I have so far only tried a rhodi. I cleared the GE in the immediate area, and mulched, but it’s rampant stuff. 
Will GE really set back new shrubs and I should think about a collar round it?  
I’d also be interested in shrubs which should do well in a dappled woodland, giving foliage or flower colour, thanks.
PS. I haven’t tested the soil, but neighbours have rhodis. 


  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,409
    Ground elder seems to get along surprisingly well with other plants, except for much smaller ones that get smothered. I can't keep up with it in my garden and it gets in among all sorts of things but they don't seem to suffer unduly. It isn't a problem round shrubs, once established, but you might need to to cover it with cardboard and mulch to get them started. The GE won't be killed this way, as each 'plant' is part of a colony but it should help initially.
    Some hardy geraniums are vigourous enough to compete and even suppress it. Yellow Lysimachia will do too, but that is a thug in its own right! The flowers are pretty and complement most things, but I remove the seed heads so I only have known battlefields, rather than new ones springing up everywhere.
    For your shrubs, Amelanchier, a multi-stemmed one pruned as a shrub, Viburnums, lots to choose from, Hamamelis for winter flowers, Cornus mas and Cornus variegata,  Pieris and cheap and cheerful Cotoneasters. Some are deciduous, some evergreen, some have autumn colour, some will make small trees and all have flowers the bees love and berries for the birds. The twiggy ones are good nest sites too.
  • a1154a1154 Posts: 1,058
    Ah ok that’s interesting. I’ll go with the cardboard. 
    I put 12 amelanchier in already! I’ll have a look at the others, thanks. 
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,674
    The only bush I have that dislikes GE is goosberry, it doesn't grow tall enough to get above the ground elder. other than that everything else seems to ignore it.
  • PoppypussPoppypuss Posts: 111
    Shrubs that do well in my dappled shade / woodland area include ornamental elder ( I've got the nigra and golden types), hebes, hardy fuschias and also choisyias which do surprisingly well in dry shade. Small acers could also do well in any space you have created by taking down other trees. After the first 2 years or so pulling out the ground elder I don't seem to notice it now, it seems to have been strangled out by the other plants.
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