What to plant around trees and stump?

bekindMay 2, 2011

Need ideas of what perennials to plant around trees and stump in front yard:

1. One small stump, full sun, raised mound. There's a little bird bath on it and white lamium/nettle around it. Either the full sun heat killed half of it last year or the lawn guy hacked it. Split lamium or go with something else?

2. Under white dogwood, sunny now then part sun, raised mound. Pachysandra planted a few years ago not doing well at all. Impatiens didn't do well b4 that. Lamium? Vinca? What else? Perhaps something evergreen in winter.

3. Under huge maple, dense shade, depressed spot at low pitch. Don't know what kind, small bright green maple leaves with clusters of tiny berry pink flowers. I guess it will be dry shade come summer but in spring very wet, saturated. At the moment, a ring of hostas, little grass beyond that. What else will grow there? Lily of the valley? Goat's beard? Brunnera? Foam? A late blooming hellebore? Don't know if anything will flower under there nor rot in spring.

The last tree is evergreen with pachysandra happily growing underneath it. Thanks in advance.

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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

If you want to cover the stump, or at least most of it, I would plant a few Geranium 'Rozanne' around it. Perhaps interchanging with another coloured Geranium, such as 'Tiny Monster' (not tiny) or 'Dragon Heart'.

Under the Maple is a little more tricky. The Hostas will likely not do well. Here are some suggestions for the "dry shade" conditions:

Geranium cantabrigiense
G. macrorhizzum
Epimedium rubrum
Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:50AM
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I agree with coolplantsguy - forget about Hostas or Hellebores under the Maple. Maples are notorious for killing everything around them, especially Sugar and Norway Maples. Google them and see if that is what you have.

coolplantsguy gave you some excellent recommendations. I successfully grow G. macrorhizzum, different Epimediums (not only rubrum), and Lamium "Purple Dragon" under my Amur Maple.

There are some excellent ideas with stumps on Clematis forum. Search for "stump" there if you like Clematis.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:34AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The first two are sun. So think sun plants. Ornamental grasses, petunias, iris, junipers - whatever floats your boat.

The third will probably be trial and error, but it sounds like you understand that. I work with a lot of wet, but it doesn't dry out, so swamp plants work. Vinca is worth trying. Astilbes may not like the dryness in summer, but are also worth trying. Hosta is a good, standard choice.

Something else you could try there is camassia. It's a spring flowering bulb that is very wet tolerant, but goes dormant later on. They aren't easy to find, but aren't particularly expensive when you do find them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:50AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

i 100% disagree with alina. i am in the midst of writing a post on 'skirts' (for trees, column risers, stumps etc.so look for that soon in this forum. Hellebores would be great. many many plants will live under sugar and red maples. look through our website for more ideas:


    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 5:41PM
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I have a maple that's about as tall as my two-story house, planted too close to a deck railing, with a path that goes close by on the other side. I wanted something to grow under it. I put rocks along one edge of the path so I could add a couple inches of soil, chipped into the dirt/roots an inch or two, and plopped the hostas on top of those very shallow holes. Put what dirt I could around them, and decided this would be a true test of hosta toughness.

They've done great for a few years. They don't grow like they would in good soil, but they beat bare dirt. They rarely get watered either.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 7:29PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Mindy, I think it depends on the type of maple. I have Japanese red maples in the front and I agree that many plants will grow around it, especially if you have it limbed up.

However a Norway maple is extremely shallow rooted and sucks all the moisture around it. It is difficult to grow a variety of plants under it. If I could, I would take mine down but since ut's 70 feet tall, it's not happening.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 7:40PM
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It's some sort of Japanese maple, 30+ feet, I have to duck just a little under outer canopy...close-up in this thread: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/maple/msg0518001730199.html?1

Turns out Hostas have been under there for a few years...since they are doing okay I guess that broadens my options...I think many that have been mentioned will survive but probably won't flower much. I'll look for the post on skirts and research the recommendations I'm not familar with...thanks!

I love Camassia but I thought it requires sun.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:22PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Camassia seems to require sun in the spring, before trees leaf out. It behaves much like daffodils in that it grows, blooms, then dies back until next year. I have it in several places that are quite sunny *now*, but will be very shady in another month and it seems to be fine.

Many years ago, I threw some hosta (Krossa Regal if anyone is keeping score) in tiny holes under a red maple of the non-Japanese, large kind, then walked away. They are still there, so hostas can get established under fairly difficult types of maple. The rest of the area is pachysandra, which also seems able to coexist. Then there is the flowering quince that does OK from a survival standpoint, but fails the actual flowering part because of too much shade. It's a tough environment, but not an impossible one.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 8:27PM
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