Gardening in the Shade

Gardening in the Shade

see also: Stars of Shade by Barbara Blossom Ashmun

Gardening in the Shade

Deciding what to plant under your shade trees is not a problem of finding something that will grow in reduced light, but of finding plants that will grow in the poor, dry soil present under trees. Your plants will be competing with the tree for nutrients and moisture, and the tree will usually win.

If the soil under the tree is dry and root-clogged to the point where you have difficulty digging a hole, you may have to improve the soil before you can plant. A layer of organic material several inches deep is the best remedy. The tree will provide you with an abundance of organic material in the form of leaves. Chop them to the size of fifty-cent pieces with a bagging lawn mower and spread them under the tree. Sprinkle them with compost activator and keep them moist. Repeat this procedure annually until the leaves have rotted into a deep humus. Earthworms will move in and loosen the subsoil, making it possible to plant the shade garden of your dreams.

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