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What grows well around the base of a large oak tree?

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Hi, I live in FL and have a huge oak tree in my front yard. The roots pop up from the ground some four feet out from the tree. Does anyone have any success stories about growing any plants around the base of a tree? The plant must have a shallow root system because of the tree roots, and it must take shade.



How about ferns?

29 May, 2008


you can always add potting soil if you have that as an option. we put railroad ties around ours, added the soil and placed crotans and different annual type flowers that didnt need much sun. what have you tried?

29 May, 2008


Congratulations on the tree! Large split-leaf philodendron will grow around the base and climb the trunk. Bromiliads are easy and pretty - lots of varieties. Hostas also offer light and dark leaf varieties. Calladiums will grow close to the tree if you pile in some potting soil to cover the tubers, and they can add color. They look pretty inter-planted with fern. You might try a shade-loving moss if you can find it - that is pretty on the exposed roots.

29 May, 2008


You can also plant spring bulbs which flower when the tree has no leaves and pulmonaria,hellebores etc. I find all of these successful under a tree.

29 May, 2008


A large oak tree is a treasure indeed. not that you would but can you imagine the value of that tree in terms of the wood it contains... I think it's value is better calculated by the shade it imparts the soil it anchors and the time it has taken to grow. Large, very old trees are rare anymore...
I know of a lady in Louisiana who has two extremely large oaks in her backyard and was complaining that she couldn't grow anything under them...When I pointed out their antiquity she began to think differently about her trees...she was very excited to learn that a conservative estimate of their ages..from girth only..had them as saplings at the time of the American Revolution. lol. How many people have that kind of history in their backyards?
perhaps you could contact an arborist..and have your trees ages determined and have the trees assessed for health as well. then if you need something planted below them use interesting planters and don't disturb your trees roots... Sorry I'm just an old treehugger.

29 May, 2008

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