Clade
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Location: River Ridge, Louisiana

Shade

I'm blessed to have an old magnolia tree in my yard, unfortunately it causes sunlight issues for my garden. I get a lot of mottled shade but only 3-4 hours of direct sun. Are there ways to maximize sunlight, like reflective mulch? Is 12 hours of mottled shade equal to a certain amount of direct sun?

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GardeningCook
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Location: Upper Piedmont area of Virginia, Zone 7a

Re: Shade

Unfortunately, no. If that's what you have to deal with, you might want to concentrate on vegetables that can - or might - make do with your situation. Lettuces & other greens come to mind. Any of the fruiting vegetables really need a lot more full sun in order to produce. Maybe do some container gardening for those?
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

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applestar
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Re: Shade

I'm thinking in Lousiana, the mottled/dappled shade might be to your advantage and allow you to keep growing some things that would normally shut down or even go down from the heat during the summer.

With the huge leathery leaves, I think the problem might arise when the magnolia begins to drop leaves. Are they one of the earlier trees to drop leaves in the fall or do they persist until later? ...or -- huh it just occurred to me -- are they evergreen in Louisiana?

If so, then I think you are more likely to have problems in the fall and winter garden when the sun is less intense.

This is exactly the kind of "micro-climate" that can only be explored by experimentation. Try growing different things and take plenty of notes. (And let us know! Other gardeners in similar climate may have similar results :wink: ) I wonder if you may have more problems due to the magnolia stealing all the moisture from the ground....?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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jal_ut
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Re: Shade

Tree roots can certainly be a problem in a garden. They grab the water and the garden plants are dry. I had to take out some big old trees along my garden to get anything to grow. It was not a problem with shade, but with water.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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GardeningCook
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Re: Shade

Ahhh - but it would be bordering on sacrilege to even think of removing a large Southern Magnolia. As much as I enjoy vegetable gardening, I'd never remove one because it hindered vegetable growing.
My body is a temple. Unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper.

Clade
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2015 2:54 pm
Location: River Ridge, Louisiana

Re: Shade

Apple I think you're right about it being a bigger issue in the fall and winter. This is my first attempt at a garden at this house. The tomatoes are producing less then I'd like, but the containers are a bit too small. I'll just keep trying and see what works. I don't mind less than average yields.

Clade
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2015 2:54 pm
Location: River Ridge, Louisiana

Re: Shade

And you would not believe the leaves. The tree can blanket the yard in a week. It slows down in the winter, but never stops.

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