The Q&A Archives: shade under bay tree

Question: I have a very large, extremely dense bay tree in my yard that is thick enough that little sunlight or moisture are able to get through. Right now it's a large area of dirt but I'd like to plan the area with low maintenance plants or groundcover. Are there any issues I need to think about with the bay leaves all year round? What would best survive? Thanks.

Answer: If the area is in dense shade, you may have difficulty getting anything to grow there. If you can make a shadow against the ground when holding your hand several inches above the soil, there may be enough light to grow Sweet Woodruff, Bishop's Weed, wild violets or Lamium (Dead Nettle) there. Lamium and Bishop's Weed have variegated leaves, and violets and Sweet Woodruff produce flowers, so any of these choices will perk up the area beneath your bay tree. Whichever plant you choose, be sure to water regularly to keep the plants thriving. The leaves from your tree shouldn't hinder the growth of a groundcover so I wouldn't be too concerned about them. Best wishes with your landscape!

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