Sponsored Links

Landscaping Under Trees

landscaping under trees 1
Sponsored Links

Landscaping Under Trees

Next Up How to Plant Trees from Containers Prepare your site by clearing it of weeds and, if you have very sandy or infertile soil, digging in organic matter over a wide area.  How to Plant a Tree To give your new tree a good chance for success, follow these simple planting instructions. Landscaping Trees A look at the most popular landscaping trees for residential landscaping projects. 4 Flowering Cherry Trees and How to Plant Them There’s no more spectacular harbinger of spring than an ornamental cherry tree bursting into bloom. Planting Trees Use these planting tips to ensure your trees get the best start possible. Planting Japanese Maple Trees Compact, colorful trees in pots make a lovely addition to a yard or patio. 13 Shade Trees for Small Landscapes 13 Photos Trash Trees: Avoid Planting Messy, Smelly Trees Advice for keeping messy tree varieties out of your yard. How to Plant Container-Grown Trees Transfer a tree from its container with this step-by-step guide. How to Plant a Tree in Your Garden Plant trees well and they will pay dividends, providing your yard with color, shade and structure for many years to come.
landscaping under trees 1

Landscaping Under Trees

How to Plant Trees from Containers Prepare your site by clearing it of weeds and, if you have very sandy or infertile soil, digging in organic matter over a wide area.  How to Plant a Tree To give your new tree a good chance for success, follow these simple planting instructions. Landscaping Trees A look at the most popular landscaping trees for residential landscaping projects. 4 Flowering Cherry Trees and How to Plant Them There’s no more spectacular harbinger of spring than an ornamental cherry tree bursting into bloom. Planting Trees Use these planting tips to ensure your trees get the best start possible. Planting Japanese Maple Trees Compact, colorful trees in pots make a lovely addition to a yard or patio. 13 Shade Trees for Small Landscapes 13 Photos Trash Trees: Avoid Planting Messy, Smelly Trees Advice for keeping messy tree varieties out of your yard. How to Plant Container-Grown Trees Transfer a tree from its container with this step-by-step guide. How to Plant a Tree in Your Garden Plant trees well and they will pay dividends, providing your yard with color, shade and structure for many years to come.
landscaping under trees 2

Landscaping Under Trees

Meet your tree's needs first Not all trees are created equal. Each requires specific light, soil, and moisture conditions to survive and remain healthy. As you begin to plant your understory, make every effort to work with the situation you have. Some tree species, such as oaks (Quercus spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 4–9), are extremely sensitive to major soil disturbance. Massive undertakings to alter the grade of the landscape or to change soil pH under a tree are difficult and often impractical. Adding a layer of soil that is more than 2 inches deep, for example, can reduce moisture and oxygen availabilities and hinder gas exchange to existing roots, causing trees to suffer or even die.A tree’s root system and canopy also determine how easy or difficult it will be to install a garden under a tree. It can be particularly troublesome to work among the extensive surface roots of shallow-rooted trees such as maples (Acer spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) and elms (Ulmus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9). The dense canopies and umbrella-like habits of trees such as conifers, Norway maples (Acer platanoides and cvs., Zones 3–7), and lindens (Tilia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) not only block sunlight but also deflect rainfall. Only the toughest plants have a chance of surviving in such conditions.
landscaping under trees 3

Landscaping Under Trees

Not all trees are created equal. Each requires specific light, soil, and moisture conditions to survive and remain healthy. As you begin to plant your understory, make every effort to work with the situation you have. Some tree species, such as oaks (Quercus spp. and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 4–9), are extremely sensitive to major soil disturbance. Massive undertakings to alter the grade of the landscape or to change soil pH under a tree are difficult and often impractical. Adding a layer of soil that is more than 2 inches deep, for example, can reduce moisture and oxygen availabilities and hinder gas exchange to existing roots, causing trees to suffer or even die.A tree’s root system and canopy also determine how easy or difficult it will be to install a garden under a tree. It can be particularly troublesome to work among the extensive surface roots of shallow-rooted trees such as maples (Acer spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) and elms (Ulmus spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9). The dense canopies and umbrella-like habits of trees such as conifers, Norway maples (Acer platanoides and cvs., Zones 3–7), and lindens (Tilia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) not only block sunlight but also deflect rainfall. Only the toughest plants have a chance of surviving in such conditions.
landscaping under trees 4

Landscaping Under Trees

In all instances, care needs to be taken to minimize disturbance and damage to tree roots during the preparation and planting processes. There is a common misconception that most tree roots are deep and create a mirror image of the tree’s crown. In reality, most roots are fairly close to the surface and reach even beyond the drip-line of the crown (Figures 1a and 1b). If the tree has turf growing (or struggling to grow) up to its trunk, this grass needs to be carefully removed before planting takes place. Studies have shown that young trees grown without turf beneath their canopies enjoy a more vigorous root system and grow larger and faster above ground, as well. Generous organic mulch rings under trees encourages this healthy growth. Under planting with appropriate herbaceous materials that don’t compete aggressively with the tree’s surface roots is also beneficial. Using either non-turf plants or mulch under trees helps keep soil from drying out quickly and eliminates thatch buildup and reduces soil compaction.
landscaping under trees 5

Landscaping Under Trees

When landscaping under mature trees, you will increase your chances of success by choosing plants that are suited to your site conditions. Here is a list of plants that can grow in the reduced light and moisture available under many trees.Shrubs1. Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus and cvs., Zones 5–9)2. Cutleaf stephanandras (Stephanandra incisa and cvs., Z 3–8)3. Ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius and cvs., Z 3–7)4. Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus, Z 3–7)5. Winterberries (Ilex verticillata and cvs., Z 5–8)Perennials and grasses6. Black snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa, Z 3–8)7. Columbines (Aquilegia spp. and cvs., Z 3–8)8. Foamflowers (Tiarella spp. and cvs., Z 3–9)9. Japanese forest grasses (Hakonechloa macra and cvs., Z 5–9)10. Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, Z 5–8)11. Lungworts (Pulmonaria spp. and cvs., Z 2–8)12. Siberian irises (Iris spp. and cvs., Z 3–9)
landscaping under trees 6

Landscaping Under Trees

Mulching or planting underneath young trees is especially important, as it can help protect tender trunks from mower and string trimmer damage. Called “lawn mower blight” this is one of the leading causes of young tree stunting or outright death as it girdles the trunks, preventing plant food from moving down into roots and opening up the inner trunks to insects and wood decay fungi. Plus, covering the soil under new trees with anything other than grass helps roots get better established, growing into soil conditions more similar to what is found naturally in woods. Main thing is, planting groups of shade- and root-tolerant plants, tied together with soil-feeding mulch, and with a little artistic feature, will turn an otherwise barren area under trees into a lush wonderland.
landscaping under trees 7

Landscaping Under Trees

To begin planting under trees with these ground covers, start by applying small amounts of soil over the area, in stages, mixed with soil amendments. When you're ready to plant, carefully dig your planting holes, to avoid harming any tree roots that might be in the way. Then plant your ground covers in the holes. In terms of caring for the plants installed under the trees, afterward, remember, they are competing with big trees for water, so be sure to water them well. Mulch in between them to minimize water loss and to promote weed control.

Hi, Mary. My old apples do bear fruit, but are more cherished as ornamentals at this stage in their lives. I do prune (in late winter before the perennials are up), I do rake in fall and pick up fruit and fruit-tree debris (and rake again in early spring), I do tend the perennials through the season (deadhead etc.). I only have 5 old trees but Ihave intensive plantings under them all, and three still produce apples. I think for good hygiene/orchard management of multiple trees — a proper production orchard — an orchard mix cover crop that can be mown occasionally as needed is more the thing, but I do OK with these crazy mosaics under my old trees.
landscaping under trees 9

A tree’s canopy density needs to be considered when choosing plant materials that will grow beneath it. The extremely dense canopies of certain trees, such as Norway Maples or Little-leaf Lindens, will not only block sunlight, but their umbrella like nature will also deflect rain. Only plants that are very shade tolerant can be used in these situations. Also, owners need to be prepared to supply supplemental water to such plants, not only at planting time, but until they become established and into the future during any time of inadequate water. Selective pruning to reduce canopy density may also be considered. Other good options for planting under trees (especially those with dense canopies) are spring flowering bulbs and / or spring ephemeral plants. Both of these groups of plants grow and flower before trees fully leaf out in the spring. They are, therefore, able to get adequate sun and rain during their early, showy season. They then die back and do not reappear until the following spring. Because they aren’t visible year round, they are best over-layered with 6 inches of mulch after fall planting. They could also be interspersed with shade tolerant ground covers or other perennials.

Sponsored Links

9 Photos of the "Landscaping Under Trees"

landscaping under trees 1
landscaping under trees 2
landscaping under trees 3
landscaping under trees 4
landscaping under trees 5
landscaping under trees 6
landscaping under trees 7
landscaping under trees 9