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Lawn & Garden

No grass

I have an area in my yard that is under a large Sugar Maple tree that does not get much sun.   For the last few years I have planned shady grass seed in the spring.  I have keep it watered and it does great until late summer.  Each fall I make sure I rake all the leaves of the area, but in the spring I have no grass.  I live in southeast Michigan.  This area is not my back yard but I really would like something green to look at and not just dirt.  Help!
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Posted 2019-04-13T12:37:21+0000  by JCate JCate

Hello JCate and welcome to the Community.

It is very difficult if not impossible to grow grass under a large maple tree because maples have shallow or surface roots that interfere with planting and may compete with plants for nutrients. The canopy of maple trees is dense, creating deep shade, which only allows growth of shade-tolerant plants beneath. Rain is deflected by the canopy, preventing water from reaching the ground beneath, producing dry shade conditions. Nevertheless, many plants thrive underneath or near maple trees.


Ground cover

Larger perennial plants that grow well under maple trees are hostas and ferns. Hostas love shade and come in countless varieties that bloom with lilac or white flowers in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. They are primarily valued for their attractive leaves, which come in various shades of green or with white and gold variegation. Hostas don't mind root competition from trees. However, deer and slugs are major threats to hostas. Ferns are deer-resistant and thrive under trees. Maiden hair fern (Adiantum pedatum) has fronds that grow up to 2 feet long in USDA zones 4 through 9. The wedge-shaped leaflets are neatly arranged on each frond. Another fern, Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum) grows well in USDA zones 4 through 10. It has silvery fronds with bluish or reddish hues. Plant bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.) under large maples that don't have low branches. Bleeding heart can reach 2-to-3 feet in USDA zones 2 through 9. It blooms with pink or white flowers in spring.

Shade-loving, low-growing perennial ground cover plants grow well underneath and around maple trees. Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) is known for the fragrance of its white, little bell-shaped blooms in spring, growing in USDA zones 3 through 9. It spreads by rhizomes, called "pips," and prefers moist soil. Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a low-growing plant with fragrant, delicate, whorled leaves. It blooms with star-shaped, white flowers in spring. Sweet woodruff grows well in USDA zones 5 through 10. Violets also grow well underneath maples. Sweet violet (Viola odorata) is a spreading ground cover plant with heart-shaped leaves and fragrant, violet-, white- or rose-colored blooms, thriving in USDA 6 through 10. Myrtle (Vinca minor), also called "dwarf periwinkle," is an evergreen creeper with glossy dark leaves. It flowers profusely with blue or white flowers in spring. It grows well in USDA zones 4 through 9. Myrtle may choke out other plants, but spring-blooming bulbs are good companion plants for myrtle.

Visit your local the Garden specialist at your local Home Depot to find the solution for your ground cover.

Thanks for your inquiry.


Posted 2019-04-18T15:01:04+0000  by Char_HD_CHI
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