Shaded Area - Knowledgebase Question

Universal City, Te
Question by mmt849332
January 21, 2010
I have two very large live oaks in my front yard. One is a high bred and the other is native Texas. The front of the house faces NW. I am having difficultly finding plantings that handle the partial to deep shade of the trees. Give me an idea of what I can plant in this area that will handle the hot dry days of summer and the radical winters with temps ranging from 19 to 80 degrees in winter.


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Answer from NGA
January 21, 2010

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It's really difficult to get anything to grow under live oak trees. They cast lots of shade and the soil is typically dry because the tree's roots drink it all up. To complicate matters, anything you plant will require lots of water to offset the tree's thirst and too much water can compromise a live oak's health. About the only thing I can recommend is Horse Herb (Calyptocarpus vialis). It is native to our area and fills in nicely. It can be mowed just like grass. The nice thing about it is that it stays bright green even with little watering. On the down side, it can be considered invasive because it adjusts well to most growing situations and might try to creep out of the area. An alternative is to plant in containers or pots and move them around periodically. If you take this route, any shade loving annual or perennial will grow beneath the trees. Hostas, pansies, lobellia and impatiens all love the shade. Hope this provides some inspiration!

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