shade plants - Knowledgebase Question

Walla Walla, WA
Question by mckernm
November 8, 1997
The canopy from my neighbor s very large maple tree covers about three-quarters of my back yard. I have read that maple trees are one of the worst trees as far as using up nutrients and water in the soil. If I use compost, mulch and water carefully, willI be able to grow shade plants underneath this maple?


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Answer from NGA
November 8, 1997

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Your concern is understandable - most large trees will send out exploratory roots in search of moisture and nutrients. It s still possible to grow shade loving plants in your yard, and amending the soil with compost is a great first step. You can plant impatiens, begonia, clematis, hosta, astilbe, bleeding heart, azalea, rhododendron and Dutchman s Pipe.

Try not to disturb the surface roots too much when doing your planting. If the tree roots become exceptionally invasive, you may have to resort to areas with raised beds or above ground planters.

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