Invasive tree roots in lawn

cakbu(9)June 25, 2013

I'm looking for ideas to revamp my front yard keeping in mind that some of the lawn must go. I have several very large poplar (cottonwood) trees that provide much needed shade along the north side of the yard. These are older trees and the very large roots have come to the surface in the lawn. In several places I can no longer mow over the roots. I do not want to remove the trees/roots, but design a garden around the roots, preserving the trees. The lawn, or parts of it, can go. Does anyone have ideas about attractive ways to change my yard over from lawn to something else?

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When you say "... design a garden around the roots..." it sounds as if you intend a conventional garden, where one puts plants in and replaces or moves them around on a rotating basis. Tree roots are never a pleasure to dig within nor are they amenable to changing plants. Why not create a landscape bed of permanent groundcover below?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:05PM
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The cottonwood is native to the eastern U.S., likes moist soils but adapts well to dry soils. How about an underplanting of shrubs and perennials for part to full shade that are native to your region and suited to the soil conditions on your site.

I work in a botanic park where we have several large trees, including a very large cottonwood, and the nearby plantings of understory trees, shrubs, perennials and spring-flowering bulbs are all doing very well with minimal attention, which basically amounts to weeding and occasional pruning as needed. That area does not receive extra irrigation except in very dry spells, and requires minimal, if any, fertilizer.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:26PM
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Ground covers sound like a good choice, but what type of ground cover would be attractive but not need much maintenance? I did plant 3 daylillies in this area, but they have not bloomed nearly as much as the daylillies I planted in the full sun. I don't think they get enough sun.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 3:44PM
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I have some beautiful hostas planted under and among 50 foot spruce. There are nice pockets in the root spreads and the hostas do very well with what filtered light and rain water they get. I'm not big on supplemental watering once a plant establishes. Hostas are about the best of the no care plants and the variety in color and shape is endless. The ones that do best for me are the "blues" and darker greens. And most of mine were the easy to find and inexpensive ones from Home Depot, Walmart and the little seasonal garden centers that crop up in parking lots. I don't crave the rare and exotic.

Google has some nice images of hosta gardens under trees.

Edited to add: Got ahead of myself and I overlooked your high hardiness zone - hostas might not fare as well in your climate.

This post was edited by duluthinbloomz4 on Fri, Jun 28, 13 at 18:17

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 5:06PM
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It would help a great deal to know where you are located. I am assuming you are in USDA Zone 9, but that includes parts of the following 10 states: Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and even southern and central California. That's a pretty wide range of growing conditions.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:29PM
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My location is central California. Hot summers, a little frost in the winter, no snow.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 2:49AM
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