The Q&A Archives: Which shrub to plant

Question: 4 years ago we had our front yard redone by a local landscaper. Since that time 3 of the 9 rhododendrons have died and 4 more are losing there leaves. My question is what to plant in their place? The area is shaded with two large maple trees.

Answer: Growing plants, even grass, under a large greedy maple is both difficult and frustrating.

Amending the soil beneath the tree just encourages aggressive feeder root growth. Before long, new plants are squeezed out, unable to compete with the tree.

Extensive hand digging and rototilling are apt to injure many of the tree's large surface roots. Those wounds can be infected by root-rotting fungi, eventually compromising the tree's health and structural integrity.

So now you know the problems associated with planting under maples. In my yard, I have azaleas, rhodies, camellias, hosta and ferns of all kinds happily growing beneath my maples. Perhaps these will work for you, as well.

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