The Q&A Archives: Maple Tree

Question: I have a Maple tree n my front Yard. Someone told me that the only way to get plants to grow in the area is to take down the tree. I would hate to do it if I don't have to.
Please advise!

Answer: Removing your maple tree seems a bit drastic. Some shade tolerant plants can be planted under maple trees, but planting and caring for the plants may turn out to be a major challenge. Probably the first thing to check is how much soil you have to work with. Maple trees tend to root close to the surface so available soil for the flowers may be lacking. You can add a few inches of soil over the roots and plant your flowers in the added soil, butadding too much soil can cause damage to the tree.

Maple trees have fast growing roots and your flowers will be competing directly with the tree for water and fertilizer. Combine the competition of the roots and the dense shade most maple trees produce and you have the major challenge I referred to. If you have the time and energy to care for your flowers under your tree and you enjoy challenges, give it a try. Another option may be to plant your flowers in containers and place your containers under the tree. Then your major challenge would be finding flowers that perform in very shady conditions. Hosta, pansies, helleborus and lobelia are shade loving plants. I'm sure you can find more in your garden center.

Good luck with your garden!

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