Best Plants Under Big Trees
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Plants for thick shade and dry ground
Below the canopies of mature trees lies a double gardening whammy: thick shade and parched ground. Plants must not only battle for sunlight, but also compete with tree roots for water.
Because tree roots can extend as far out as the branches, anywhere within the drip line (the ground area under the tree's outermost branches) is the dry-shade zone. It's hard to improve soil here, as you don't want to damage the tree roots. Even plants that like shade, such as primroses, moss and ferns, can struggle without extra care.
But by choosing the right plants--such as hostas, pictured at left--you can have a lush green undergrowth. Read about our recommendations on the next six slides.