Can anything survive under a maple tree? #749881 - Ask Extension

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Can anything survive under a maple tree? #749881

Asked May 14, 2021, 10:11 AM EDT

Hello! I have 2 beautiful maple trees in my front yard, surrounded by 2 not so beautiful circles of bare soil. I have gotten some grass to seed but it’s really patchy. They are mature trees, so shade is a big issue, as well as their shallow roots. I’m wondering if there is anything that can survive around the base of those maples? I’m just looking for something that would look nice and I could mow around. Opinions online seem to disagree, and I’m not even sure I can safely mulch around the base of the tree? Any guidance you can give me would be excellent!

Ottawa County Michigan

Expert Response

Wonderful questions and observations. You are correct that maples have shallow roots. And another great observation is the mixed information found online! I want to share this terrific resource about mulching landscape trees. I would personally choose mulch over a ground cover or plant in this situation. I think in the long run it will be easier for you and you won't have to worry about competing roots. Pay close attention to the thickness of mulch at the base of the plant, watching to not create the volcano. You could also add some fun annuals to a pot and stick them under your tree as an option.

https://extension.psu.edu/mulching-landscape-trees

Angela Van Order Replied May 14, 2021, 4:15 PM EDT

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