The Q&A Archives: dry heavy shade

Question: what are my options for a slope approx 4'x20' infront of my house that is very dry and shaded by 2 large maple trees. Now it has stubbled grass on it. I would like to pretty it up a bit. Thanks - Gary S.

Answer: Dry shade, especially in on a slope in competition with maple tree roots, is a very difficult location to plant successfully. You might be able to establish Vinca minor, an evergreen ground cover in that area, or possibly Ajuga or maybe even Epemedium as a ground cover. Either way will take some work on your part to loosen the soil for individual planting holes enriched with compost or other organic material, then planting and watering as needed to keep the soil moist while the plants become established. You would also want to mulch between them with an organic mulch until they fill in. This will help keep down weeds and also help feed the soil slowly as it breaks down over time. Finally you will also need patience because it may take several years to obtain coverage. You might also consult with your local professionally trained and certified nurseryman for additional suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of your planting site and also your design goals. Good luck with your project!

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