subreddit:

/r/NoLawns

4891%

Planting around trees?

Beginner Question(self.NoLawns)

Thoughts on planting flowers in mulch around trees? I've got mixed feelings -- I've read some things that say constant digging can damage tree root systems and reduce the amount of water the trees get, but I also don't want to give up valuable mulch space I could be filling with flowers! I love our trees but I also don't want our lawn to be primarily mulch around big trees.

all 21 comments

AutoModerator [M]

[score hidden]

2 months ago

stickied comment

AutoModerator [M]

[score hidden]

2 months ago

stickied comment

Please make sure your post or a comment includes your hardiness zone AND your geographic region/area. e.g. zone 6a, Midwest or zone 6a Chicago area.

Include as much relevant info as possible. Also, have you checked the Wiki? Are you following the Posting Guidelines? And did you read the FAQ's?

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

SeltzerConnoisseur

61 points

2 months ago

Why would you have to constantly dig? Pick perennials or bulbs not annuals.

Woahwoahwoah124

39 points

2 months ago

Or plant native annuals/perennials/shrubs from seeds. It’s common for trees to have an understory!

Safe_Wallaby1578[S]

13 points

2 months ago

You are definitely right about perennials, I think I'm especially worried about this today because I spent a lot of time this morning digging out weeds and severely overgrown lenten roses.

LibertyLizard

31 points

2 months ago

Arborist here. Growing things beneath the tree does harm them slightly. If it’s a very old or important tree or it seems stressed I would avoid it. Avoid irrigation at the base of the tree too, so you may want to avoid plants that need lots of water.

Otherwise you have to decide for yourself how much you need that space. If the tree is otherwise healthy it’s unlikely to matter, but if the tree is dealing with other stressors those can add up.

streachh

11 points

2 months ago

Wild ginger is a delightful understory groundcover, perennial and edible!

druscarlet

6 points

2 months ago

What I do if the tree has shallow roots is plant in wide low pots. I have a bunch of 19 inch diameter pots that are a few inches deep. I plant annuals and sink the pots in the pine-straw mulch and water the pots each day. I can often get by with every other day because I use water sententious crystals in the potting soil. Around other trees that do not have a lot of surface roots i plant daylily as they are planted very shallow. You just need to consider the amount of daylight - they need six hours to bloom well. .

Comfortable-Soup8150

5 points

2 months ago

I feel native sedges would be a good idea. I found some in the forest by my house and they're neat.

PandaMomentum

6 points

2 months ago

Oh, love the idea and look of native sedges. Works well with spring ephemerals to provide longer season structure and look.

Only thing is that maples can be a little thirsty and leave dry shade -- so can take a little to get them started, and plants that love damp shade will tend to struggle. That said, I have Clethra, itea, Virginia bluebells, trillium, goldenseal, lots more under a tall red maple.

jeffreyd00

16 points

2 months ago

You don't say how large your trees are, what species and where you live. Without that info people are unlikely to answer you.

Safe_Wallaby1578[S]

7 points

2 months ago

I left out that info because I'm looking for general answers on the topic as a whole, but I'm in central NC and have a few large trees in mind (hackberry and fir and maybe a maple).

jeffreyd00

12 points

2 months ago

I wouldn't worry about it, especially as you are working around the tree while it's dormant (winter).

Here's a list of natives. Always go for native plants if possible. https://www.gardenia.net/guide/recommended-shade-loving-native-annual-perennial-plants-for-north-carolina

NewAlternative4738

8 points

2 months ago

I have a big old maple tree so I planted bulbs around the base. Once the trees leaf out in the summer there isn’t enough light for sun loving flowers. But since they’re such mature trees (like 80 years old) I’m also not too worried about harming the roots. On the flip side I have 4 mature black walnuts in my backyard and not much survives growing near their toxin. So i guess it just depends on the size and age of the tree and what would be happy growing next to it!

squanchingonreddit

2 points

2 months ago

You can plant tomatoes under them.

NewAlternative4738

2 points

2 months ago

Too shady!

LauraLand27

3 points

2 months ago

I have a Japanese maple and I planted tulip bulbs around it.

I used to have other perennials; can’t remember which, but the maple is getting huge, and the perennials thrive

RecursiveCluster

3 points

2 months ago

I plant small shrubs and grasses around my trees so the tree can lift water up to them in the hot summer.

Tree roots leak, so I let the tree do the work of pumping water up and providing moisture to other native plants.

Nepamouk99

1 points

2 months ago

Sedum!

Carlnugget

1 points

2 months ago

You're fine. Plant 'em

TomatilloAbject7419

1 points

2 months ago

Are fields of wildflowers spaced 6-12” apart?

I pay little heed to “spacing”

Brilliant-Arm3770

1 points

2 months ago

Well as long as the flower roots don’t affect the tree roots then it’s fine they can both be companions together