Top tips for growing plants around trees
Planting around trees can be tricky in a garden. There are many considerations to make, such as the age of the tree, the type and its aspect in your garden. We have a few tips that will help your green friends survive under and around thirsty trees:
A trick Papillon uses in areas where there are trees is to raise the soil level up 300mm+. This gives you virgin soil to use, which is outside of the tree’s root system. It’s important not to bury the trunk of the tree with soil, so consider using a partition round the trunk to prevent this. Over time, the roots of the tree can work their way into the raised bed but by that time your plants should be established. Raising the soil level up will also bring plants out of harm’s way from soil toxins.
Using a mulch & compost
You should always plant with lots of compost and a high phosphorus feed when planting under trees! Without this, new plants under established trees will struggle. This will give extra help to the plant in an already difficult situation. A thick (25mm-40mm) mulch of bark, compost, manure or bark will reduce water loss, weed competition and add fertility to a new planted area too.
Under large established conifer trees, such as pines or leylandii, you’ll need to water new planting up to 10x more than in a normal new planting conditions. You can set up irrigation to come on automatically every day of the growing season (April-November) for the first couple of years of establishment to make sure your plants are getting the water they need.
Choose the right plants
Plants that you choose must be suitable for each situation; there are plants that are drought tolerant and good for partly or fully shaded areas and others that are more suitable for full sunlight. We’ve put together a list of plants to use in different conditions, which will follow in our next blog, Can you plant shrubs and flowers under trees?.
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