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Groundcover Idea Beneath Shallow Rooted Trees

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Lily of the Valley or Convallaria majalis

Gardening beneath trees can be challenging if trees are shallow rooted. Sometimes it is a case of futility in trying to get plants to grow.

Trees hog water and soak up nutrients. There are a few plants that do well under these circumstances such as Lily of the Valley groundcover.

Lily of the Vally is a plant for tough spots. Plus, you’ll love the sweet fragrance of the dainty flowers in spring which can be cut and brought indoors.

Lily of the Valley Features

  • Drought Tolerant Groundcover – Thrives under trees and shrubs
  • Moisture loving Groundcover – for planting neardownsputs
  • Deer proof
  • Acid loving – will thrive under pines
  • Spreads rapidly by rhizomes
  • Fragrant blooms in spring
Convallis majlias8

Lily of the Valley cut flowers have a sweet scent!

Lily of the Valley is a wanderer that will spread very fast, so it is best to do a yearly check after flowering and remove unwanted rhizomes that are creeping out of their desired growing area.

Here are a few other plants that grow successfully beneath shallow rooted trees

Here are a few things you should know:

  • It is best to select plants with shallow root systems
  • It is best to dig small planting holes to minimize disturbance to the tree
  • Plants need extra water the first year
  • Remember to mulch 3 inches deep

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At GreatGardenPlants.com we are here to help you with your garden plant needs!  Find your favorite sun perennials,  shade perennials, shrubs, Hydrangeas, ground covers and so much more for your garden!

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Blue Star Creeper – Try this easy groundcover for a no mow lawn

  • Lawn alternative!

    Isotoma or Blue Star  - you can walk on it without leaving a flattened trail!

    Isotoma or Blue Star – you can walk on it without leaving a flattened trail!

  • Rugged as grass!
  • Takes foot traffic!
  • Let it roam where you want it!

If you are looking for a low maintenance replacement for lawn or pathway, then Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma) is for you!!

Low growing mats that fill in fast. You can walk on it without leaving a flattened trail!  This alone makes it a reliable alternative to turf grass.

Top Seller!  Baby star like sky blue flowers nestle on top of a walk able bed of small green foliage.  Blooms last all season long!! This is a true perennial, hardy to Zone 5.   Great for transitional areas as it grows in sun and part shade.  Evergreen in the south.

Isotoma creates a sea of dainty sky blue flowers that last all season long

Isotoma creates a sea of dainty sky blue flowers that last all season long. Chris in the greenhouse with our Jumbo 1 qt pots

This ground cover can take some dampness and is not as drought tolerant as other ground covers.  Needs more shade in hot areas .

Use Isotoma as a lawn substitute, around pools, pavers, edging and pots. If you plant it near grass, it wills start to blend in.

You’ll love Blue Star Creeper as a quick fill,  low maintenance, easy to grow groundcover.  Available as a Jumbo 1 qt pot from GreatGardenPlants.com

 

Hellebore-Great Groundcover for Dry Shade

Hellebore is a drought & deer proof groundcover for the shade perennial garden

Have you ever noticed how poorly some plants do beneath trees and tall shrubs? Tree roots can easily zap away moisture and nutrients leaving anything under planted looking weary & tired.

Rather than fight with it, select from a group of care-free plants that can take dry shade conditions and have minimal requirements when it comes to nutrients & moisture.

I particularly love Hellebores for this.  When I planted seven of these early spring flowering ground covers last fall I thought I’m not sure if they are all going to make it.  I dug pretty hard to get in between a few tree roots and there wasn’t a lot of soil for me to work with.  I added some topsoil, mulched and watered well and to my amazement they all made it through next spring.

I do like planting spring flowering plants such as Hellebore in the fall. Plants still grow in the fall because soil temperature and moisture levels are usually at a level that promotes rapid root growth needed to sustain plants through the first critical year in the landscape.  So by spring I’ll have larger more established plants and more blooms to enjoy that first year.

Hellebores is a terrific solution if you have dry shade in your perennial garden.  In addition to the beautiful spring flowers, hellebore is the perfect deer resistant shade plant with evergreen foliage which provides year round interest.

Ajuga – Fast Spreading Groundcover for Beneath Trees & Difficult Areas

Need a fast spreading drought proof groundcover that will grow beneath trees?

Chocolate Chip Ajuga is an attractive deer proof groundcover that nestles in nicely between pavers, under trees, and other hard to grow areas in sun or shade

Ajuga or Bugleweed is easy to grow and virtually maintenance free perennial groundcover for hard to grow places.  I’m particularly fond of Chocolate Chip Ajuga (‘Valfredda’) where it can easily cover an 18” area in just one season.  It is one of my favorite ground covers beneath trees where other groundcover struggle and it looks great year-round!

Ajuga is a deer proof evergreen groundcover with vibrant foliage and showy purple flowers in spring. Low growing mats are only 3” tall. Hardy to Zone 4-9,  It thrives in both sun and shade.

Growing anything under trees can be difficult. First of all, trees create a “rain shadow” where it is always drier beneath a tree.  Secondly, some trees such as maples, poplars and willow have heavy feeder roots that rest near the surface, making it virtually impossible to grow, let alone even dig a hole for planting.

Beware of Ajuga Lawn! If planted close to turf, Ajuga will spread into your lawn which becomes difficult to eradicate.

Ajuga is ideal with its  shallow roots that grow within just a few inches of the ground.  It competes effectively between tree roots and drier conditions while spreading quickly by way of runners. Runners are easily removed if it gets beyond its bounds.

Ajuga is not a groundcover for everybody or to be placed in a mixed perennial border.

Ajuga is one of the best groundcovers for weed control. Weeds find it tough to sprout through their thick root system.

Ajuga Tips

  • Avoid “Ajuga lawn” by planting away from  turf or you’ll have a co-mingling of lawn & Ajuga.
  • Don’t plant anything nearby unless you are using beneath shrubs or trees.
  • Thick root system makes Ajuga ideal for erosion control
  • Ideal between pavers
  • Excellent for large areas where you want to have a quick spread
  • Ideal under shallow rooted trees where nothing else will grow

Related Articles

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Where to Shop for Ajuga Chocolate Chip

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