The Q&A Archives: Under the oaks

Question: I have 3 100+ year old oak trees in my backyard. We used to have english ivy under them but have cleared that out. What type of ground cover can I safely grow under them or is it best just to cover with mulch? There are alot of small-medium roots all over the top surface and it is hard to dig unless I disturb these roots.

Answer: Oak roots are shallow and they don't like to be disturbed but I think you can still plant an attractive groundcover without doing too much damage to the roots. I'd choose pachysandra or vinca. Both will spread in shade and in dry soils which is what you will find beneath your oak trees. Best wishes with your landscape!

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