Landscaping advice request

Good evening all. I have a 10x39 area on the north side of my house (against my house to be precise) that I’m trying to decide how to landscape. I would like as much fruit production as I can but it doesn’t have to be all fruit. For instance my wife really likes hollyhocks so I may be some in this space.

I have many comfrey plants, many american beauty berry plants, two currant bushes, five autumn olives, and three goumi plants on hand. The autumn olive and goumi I had planned for elsewhere but that’s not written in stone. I also have some witch hazel plants coming soon as well. I’ve been interested in rose hips before but go back and forth on those to be honest.

I’m definitely not limiting it to these plants and im curious what others would do with this space. The only caveat outside of it being north facing is the line leading to our septic tank is in this area on one end. The septic tank is on the other side of our sidewalk that separates this area from the rest of the yard.

So. After having said all of that does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with this space? How would you decorate it?

Zone 7a in Middle Tennessee



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Is the 39-foot dimension adjacent to the house?

Hi Matt! I don’t want to rain on your parade, but Autumn Olive is an invasive which I highly recommend against propagating.

Otherwise, I’d suggest more currants, Highbush Cranberry, Saskatoon serviceberry, honeyberry, wild geranium, wild ginger, wild ginseng, and foam flower for shade tolerant north facing plantings.

Edit : spicebush could work nicely too.

Yes, the 39’ side is against the house

Thanks for the suggestions. I hadn’t seen many of those in all the internet searches I’ve been doing.


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Sounds like you have a plan already!

A few more currants, and some honeyberries/haskaps would sound good. If you want small trees, then service berry is fine. (Although if you have cedar trees…juniper, nearby you may not get good fruits on serviceberry due to cedar apple rust…cedar serviceberry rust.)

Folks that worry about autumn olive being ‘invasive’ keep on planting Bradford pears and burning bush euonymous and thoses are definitely invasive. I have a dozen 3 and 5 gallon autumn olive I’ve been growing in pots until i can decide where I want them–probably just inside my property line with one of the neighbors.

Rose hips…you’ll do better in a sunny spot. Hollyhawks…prefer sun too, and they are biennial…grow one year with no blooms, next year bloom, next year die and seeds fall off and perhaps return with non blooming the next season.

Gooseberries would work same as currants too. I don’t know what your soil is like or the slope/drainage, but the things you mention mostly seem good ideas.

I actually just cut down the burning bush that came with my house, and ripped out a few at my job site growing “wild” 2 days ago. Not sure if that was directed at me or a general statement, but I tear out a large number of autumn olive with our excavator too, every chance I can get.

Edit: Blueberries perform a similar function from a landscape design perspective and are just as beautiful as burning bush while providing food. They DO require more work (pH monitoring, fertilizer etc.)

I have no love for non-fruit bearing pears, other than to graft the 2 at my office this year to be fruit bearing in a few years.

Autumn Olive I will give you is a nitrogen fixer and provides fruit (although very small and astringent when I’ve tried it, probably not quite ripe) but Goumi also fixes nitrogen and makes (also apparently) not amazing fruit. I am germinating black goumi to plant alongside my lupines (a great pollinator, attracts hummingbirds too!) as nitrogen fixers which also provide fruit. If AO was unique, I’d have less gripes with it. But there are similar less invasive options available that are not hard to find, not lesser fruit quality, and also a nitrogen fixer in the form of red and black goumi.

Additional edit: Peaceful Heritage has stopped selling AO due to the recommendations of the state of Kentucky after this was brought to the attention of the owners by one of my wife’s co-workers who saw they were selling them. That is your state if I’m not mistaken @BlueBerry

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Well, I have or have had a lot of things I’ve grown or experimented with…and I do have autumn olives in pots…and have shared some cuttings via growingfruit group.
I’ll still plant a callery pear if a customer pays me, same as a burning bush or an autumn olive.

Yes, I have messaged, and have talked with others about the Peaceful Heritage nursery…and had planned to find time to make an appointment to meet him. Apparently he operates “by appoitment” just as I do…public not welcome to just drop in.
But the off season has passed, and now I have too much to do…both work and pleasure, not to mention I’m mid-60’s now.

Peaceful Heritage must be real close to where I lived for 2 or 3 years about 20+ years ago. I am in Stanford and Lancaster sometimes…and every week in Somerset, Mt.vernon and Berea…so maybe we’ll find the time. He can’t be more than 30 minutes out of my way!
(Just one of them things…until I put him on top of my ‘to do’ list, it may never happen unless we just bump into each other. Of course, my use of an alias perhaps is the only reason he doesn’t already know who I am on here.) Quite a few Amish families in that vicinity.

I have 100 B9 roots just came in, 111 viburnums, and 35 currants/blueberries. All bare root stock. Jung’s, Cummins and Fedco still expecting things from them later.

Goumi I bought a 4 inch one at some point, but it died (from neglect or too much moisture, or both). Should try it again.

I don’t have a storefront, just a pickup truck. I like it that way.
And if I stock an autumn olive or two…it’s not illegal.

{Even illegality doesn’t deter a lot of folks…just get on I-75 or I-77 and see how many pay attention to the speed limit.}

On the landscaping side of things, aronia would be another option that bears fruit and has attractive fall color.

Spicebush(Spicewood to locals) is fairly invasive and I’ve yanked a ton of them out of the ground here. Autumn Olive is competing with Red Cedar (Virginia Juniper) to take over local cattle pasture. I grow blackberries even though I had to fight and clear about a million wild ones (Himalayan?) out of my now orchard space. Even Wineberry that tends to form an impenetrable “thicket” I allow a few to remain and just try to control how much space they consume.

In an urban yard, probably any would be quite manageable and acceptable. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” seems applicable.

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Autumn Olive actually does appear to be illegal to grow in Michigan, FWIW.

Different folks have differing definitions. I would agree blackberries can be invasive.
(Seeds appear to lie dormant to hundreds of years and still germinate when conditions are right…I’ve cleared timber land and had blackberry thickets in 3 years.)

But, technically, if it is “NATIVE” it’s not invasive by most standards. Spicebush or red cedar or blackberries would not be classified as invasives…for they’ve always been here.

Now…the European version of Spicebush, or the Chinese junipers or the Himilayan blackberries or the European ‘snowball bush’ viburnum or the Chinese privet would be considered “invasive” as they were imported and tend to be unwelcome.

I’ve been asked if HONEYBERRIES are ‘invasive’. If they are, the invasion is welcome so far as I am concerned. :slight_smile:

Don’t plant a Fig tree near the septic system
The roots will invade and plug it up.
Several other fruit trees will do the same.

  • Not the line from house to the septic tank. I would assume planting adjacent to house is not going to affect a septic system.
    But the leach lines are subject to getting stopped up with vigorous roots.

I do have several figs but I wouldn’t want to put them the north side of my house any way.

Regarding the line leading to the tank should I be worried about what is planted around it? I’m not planting near the tank itself nor the leach lines.

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collitchboy, not too much…but just use common sense…if you plant an oak tree on top of the line leading to the tank…and 80 years from now it blows down in a wind storm, you may also lose your sewer system.

but at the rate the world has been changing …80 years from now they may have come up with some other way to poop!

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