Planting under trees can be tricky, but with the proper knowledge and planning, it can also be an advantageous experience! Whether you are hoping to cultivate edible fruits or flowering blooms, various strategies can help make planting beneath tall trees a successful venture. By understanding the specific qualities of your chosen tree species and assessing soil quality—among many other things—you can create a unique garden oasis full of life in what might otherwise feel like a dead zone on your property. Read on for helpful tips to get you started!
The Value In Planting Under Trees
Planting gardens under trees can be incredibly beneficial. The shade from surrounding trees helps protect plants from harsh sunlight, allowing them to thrive. This can also help save water as the soil stays moist for more extended periods of time.
Trees also act as a shield against winds which can be damaging to delicate plants, giving them shelter and stability. Ultimately, planning gardens beneath trees allows people to reap all the rewards of gardening while experiencing numerous other benefits of tree planting.
Tips For Planting Under Trees
Protect The Tree
Planting under a tree can come with plenty of challenges, but it is by no means impossible. Protecting the tree should be your top priority when growing underneath. It may be hard to believe, but trees are very sensitive to damage to their roots and bark and react badly if disturbed. In particular, species like beeches, cherries, plums, dogwoods, magnolias, and maples have very shallow roots, so caution must be taken when digging around them. When possible, use a trowel or digging knife rather than a giant shovel, as this can cause less disruption to the root system and surrounding soil.
In addition, try not to injure the bark of the tree at its base, as this will act as an open invitation for disease or insects to make their way which can put additional stress on the tree. Proper planning and preparations allow you to easily create a healthy environment for plants to thrive beneath trees without causing too much disruption or damage.
Try Starting Small
Planting under trees can be difficult since you must be careful not to interrupt the existing root system. The main way to succeed is to start small with your new additions. When looking into purchasing plants for these tricky areas, you may find “liner” plants from mail-order nurseries. These smaller seedlings are a great option as they’re cheaper than larger plants.
With their smaller root balls, you can slip them in without digging too deep or wide, and they won’t cause any damage to the tree. While they’ll need more water when they’re first planted since they naturally have less established roots, they will adapt more quickly than bigger plants would in such tight spaces.
Only Use A Few Varieties Of Plants
Many fast-spreading groundcovers may jumpstart your garden with immediate coverage and texture, however, they should be used with caution as some will overtake other areas of your yard. Planting under trees can be tricky since the shade often prevents floor space from growing many plants. To make it easier, focus on choosing a couple of select plants and planting them in large swaths rather than tiny seedlings.
More optimum choices would include Ginger (Asarum), columbine (Aquilegia), or bleeding heart (Dicentra) for color and form. With strategic planning and careful consideration when deciding on the plants you want to use, you can easily create a beautiful garden beneath the trees!
Plan For Dry Conditions
Depending on the climate that you live in, planting under a tree can provide a unique gardening challenge. Trees are notorious for competing with their nearby plants for moisture and vital nutrients. So when it comes to planting under trees, you’ll want to choose plants that can easily handle dry conditions.
Sure, you still need to provide love and attention (especially in the first year) regardless of what type of plants you decide to work with, but keeping an eye on these key elements ahead of time can mean all the difference when it comes to success or failure. The goal is to choose hearty species that only require a little supplemental watering during prolonged droughts, as they compete with the tree roots for precious moisture!
Choose Plants That Look Good All Year Long
If you’re looking to plant something beautiful beneath a tree, it’s best to go for plants with attractive foliage year-round. Planting things that flower may yield some pretty blooms in spring but will give you little consistency for the rest of the year. European ginger, Japanese painted ferns, Hosta, coral bells, Japanese forest grass, and frilly mayapple are just a few of the options available that will not only survive the shade of a tree but also inject rich color and texture into your display over any season.
These plants mix to make an ever-changing backdrop and always attract attention. Don’t be deterred by the shade offered by your trees; armed with clever planting choices, you can bring life – and color – to even the darkest corner.
Try Including Some Surprises
Adding some unexpected elements to planting under trees can be a great way to give your other garden drama and eye-catching appeal. Consider adding bold colors, unusual textures, and unique shapes to help create an intriguing look.
Specific bright colors may fade out in the shade, so make sure that the focal point of your planting is receiving enough sunlight, ideally by positioning it toward the outer edge of the tree’s branches. This will bring a new level of beauty and delight to your plantings!
Planting Under Trees Made Easy With These Tips!
In conclusion, planntng a garden under tree canopies doesn’t need to be daunting. Keep in mind that patience is key, as planting beneath trees often requires more attention and care than other areas of your garden. However, with the right plants and a bit of perseverance, you can have a garden that will flourish beneath the trees! Happy planting!