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What are the best soil conditions for bunchberry, Cornus canadensis?
In his book, Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 1996) Arthur Kruckeberg talks about "an acid, gritty soil, somewhat damp." Paghat's Garden, a local gardener's web page, says that "being near rotting deadfall helps bunchberry a great deal, as it is frequently found growing naturally around rotting stumps and logs. To meet its desire for rotting wood in its vicinity, I started it in soil into which I had buried many whole twigs before planting the bunchberries, and I worked deeply into the soil a considerable amount of wood shavings in which our pet rats had pooped, besides organic matter from finished compost. After it is established it is a good idea to mulch every two or three years with pine or fir needles gathered from the woodlands. The wood particles worked into the soil seem really to do the trick and we've experienced none of the troubles some people have when attempting to establish a healthy patch of bunchberry. After a couple years, shavings or woodchips will have broken down into good organic compost, so to keep the quotient of decaying wood current, every couple years I pound a few sticks (mostly sundry bush trimmings) flush into the soil, as I also do for huckleberries and other such plants that have a strong symbiotic relationship with the sorts of beneficial fungus that break down wood."
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June 24 2013 12:55:25