Perennial Bed Around Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Boiling Springs, PA
Question by plewis5
January 19, 2000
What smaller trees would be suitable for using as a focal point of a front lawn mixed bed? I would like to use a deciduous tree with some evergreen shrub(s) and perennials. My key concerns are root invasiveness and competition for nutrients among various plants. The exposure would be full afternoon sun. The soil is new-development clay, but I am happy to amend it.

Answer from NGA
January 19, 2000


There are a number of small trees that would suit such a spot with clay soil and hot afternoon sun. You might try some of the smaller and newer disease resistant crabapples, the native redbud, or perhaps a smaller ornamental cherry. No matter which tree you select there will be a certain amount of competition for light, water, and nutrients so keep this in mind while selecting the surrounding plants. It is also a good idea to spend extra attention on preparing the soil and then maintain a layer of organic mulch to help "feed" the soil on an ongoing basis.

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