Answer: Planting under oaks can be risky business. These trees do not like competition from the roots of other plants; they don't like the additional water required to keep smaller trees and shrubs happy; and it's important not to change the soil grade around the roots of these trees. With those cautions in mind, you should be able to plant trees and shrubs outside of the dripline of your oaks without too much trouble. Some good choices include Garrya (Silktassel, Daphne odora, Nandina, Osmanthus, Symphoricarpos (snowberry), Viburnum, Myrtle, Barberry, Bergenia, Erigeron (Mexican Daisy, Heuchera (coral bells) and Penstemon. There are many other plants listed in Sunset Western Garden Book if you need additional ideas. Best wishes with your landscaping project!
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