Groundcover for shade under tree, dog-proof

linnea56(z5 IL)April 19, 2009

My brother and his wife have asked for advice, so I said IÂd see what I can find out. They have a big Norway maple in their front yard that creates very dense shade. Grass will no longer grow under it, and it is either bare dirt or muddy all year long. What ground cover can they use in such a situation? I donÂt think they care if it is flowering: I think anything practical that will live under those conditions will be good.

I had thought of a couple of things and then was thrown a poser: Their dog goes out there, and always tracks through the mud/dirt. Is there a ground cover that is strong enough to withstand dog traffic? English Ivy was what I thought of, but I donÂt know if thatÂs hardy in zone 5. I see it used all the time for this purpose, on my travels in zone 6 or warmer. Thanks!

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vintagegardener(ok 7a)

The best groundcover to plant under a tree where nothing else grows is liriope(monkey grass).It is not harmful to animals and can even take their abuse(peeing,pooping,laying and even walking on it.Monkey grass is for zones 4-10.It is quite pricey where I live but it is on ebay and other sites.

I do not recommend english ivy to anyone.It will climb the tree and eventually it will cover the branches and then the tree cannot leaf out and will die.

Monkey grass grows anywhere in full shade or full sun.Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:18PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

I will second this suggestion. The prior owners of our house used it as a ground cover under and around large oak trees in the back beside a high deck. This bed is shaded and the little ground cover does wonderfully well. We have a large dog and his activity doesn't damage the planting, plus I walk over it to reach a water faucet. It is very hardy and tough and stays green year round. If they wish to add a bit of color, just place three pots of varying heights together and put some bright Impatients in them. Lovely and cool.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mondo Grass photo and description

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 1:41PM
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