Hostas Under Trees

clbselahMay 14, 2011

Looking for advice on hostas under trees...some background...

Eight years ago I had my landscaper plant about 4 hostas under my maple tree. I'd seen it done, but was new to home ownership so didn't know enough to ask about the likelihood of success, or advice, or to notice what kinds of trees those other hostas were under, tree root issues, etc

Only one hosta came back. (The farthest from the tree but still within three feet)

Now years late I really want something in that spot (and hate ferns). So I planted 3 hostas today.

To be fair, the hosta are sort of among the tree roots. (not super big ones, but I did have to snip a couple about the size of a child's pinky finger to get the hostas in. An there were some very fine roots -- but they could have been from the invasive viola I can't get rid of!

Soooo any advice on the hostas:

-- likelihood this second time will be the charm?

-- if I water them well will that make up for them being close to the tree, and among the roots?

-- will the roots take all their water and kill them no matter what I do?

I asked about extra watering, but the area there is not a dry area by any means, when it rains it's wet just like the rest of the yard. But I've been told the tree roots can take all the water.

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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

It depends on the type of Maple.Folks around here will tell you,Maples are some of the worst trees to plant under,because the fine roots form an impenetrable mat. I,however have many hostas planted under a red Maple,and they are thriving. I also have Oaks,poplars,and Dogwoods to plant under,and all of the hostas there also thrive. Good luck with your hostas,and welcome to the hosta forum! Others may weigh in now,and tell you their thiughts. Phil

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 3:03PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in my experience, as follows, in caps:

-- likelihood this second time will be the charm? NO

-- if I water them well will that make up for them being close to the tree, and among the roots? NO,, IT WILL ENCOURAGE THE TREE TO GROW NEW ROOTS WHERE YOU DUG THE HOLE ...

-- will the roots take all their water and kill them no matter what I do? YES.... the tree doesnt kill them, its the lack of water

save them now...

IMHO... it does NOT matter what kind of maple ... and anyone who suggests otherwise is in denial


    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 4:01PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Lol,Ken,but my garden tells me otherwise! Just my opinion. Phil

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 5:09PM
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Well, it's the little tiny roots that are the water theives!

The majority of gardeners will have difficulty growing within the root zone of the maple as those little tiny roots are the feeder roots. They form a fabric that will go thru the root zone of the hosta and steal all of its water an nutrients.

Your likelihood of success? In the short term... maybe.
Long term... less likely.

You do have a couple of choices.

You can plant in pots on top of the ground.
You can plant the hostas in a Root Control Bag . They're embedded with copper which acts as a deflector for tree roots. NOTE: Do not try and get away with using weed cloth... roots will penetrate it and water won't!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:32PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

I have a nice ring of Undulata albomarginata growing around the base of a Norway maple and they have increased a lot under that tree, and don't get special treatment. I may water them when it's dry if I feel like it. But they are undulata, they'll survive anywhere. Yes, I'm one of those that planted a ring of hostas around a tree. I have gotten nice complements on that ring.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:41PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Here's a link to a thread about planting beneath a maple using Spin Out bags.


Here is a link that might be useful: Planting Using Spin Out Bags

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 9:32PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Alright,you doubters. This pic,also posted elsewhere on the forum,under New Garden Pic,shows the red Maple at the upper right,and the hostas directly across the path from it are also under the tree. Phil

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 10:22PM
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chris-e(7 MD)

I just dug up a plant that had been doing so well for three years, but hardly came back this year. It has always been under a juniper tree. When I dug it up, which was a chore, I had to pull the tree roots from a terrible tangle with the hosta roots.

I want the plants there but there seem to be a few in the same area that the roots are also crowding out. (I haven't dug them yet) I guess those spin out bags are my only choice to save the plants and have them where I want them.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 10:53PM
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Oh, I should also share that I have Great Expectations, a notoriously difficult to grow hosta, directly against a silver maple's trunk.... it happens to be very happy.

The hosta I have that are further out from the trunk (closer to the drip line) are the ones that struggle. I've heard that some people end up digging up their hosta under maples every couple of years, just to rip out the entangle feeder roots.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 11:53PM
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Drat. I just planted the hostas. Now that I WILL be ordering the root bags I guess I'll have to dig them right up again. Thanks for the insight, all.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 1:41AM
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My experience supports those that suggest that you do not plant under a Maple tree. Yes I have a number of hostas growing under a maple tree. However I had a magnificient specimen of Dream Weaver growing under the tree for 8 years...slowly the plant dwindled. I wanted to save it, so I dug it up and put it in a pot. However it was too late. The little maple feader roots had strangled all the roots supporting the hosta. The soil under the plant was almost non existant - nothing to hold any moisture. I still have some hosta under the tree, however I have been slowly replacing the hosta with other shade plants that either have a shallow root system and can live off the top soil, or are so vigorous, they can compete with the trees roots (like solomon seal). The remaining hosta require a lot of extra work. Each spring I cut through the soil around the hosta (trying to cut of the tree roots). However these plants never get that big and it is probably because I am also severing their roots and they probably don't get enought water no matter how frequently I water the area.

Keep in mind - the bigger the tree, the more extensive the root growth. If you have young maples, you can probably grow your hostas there for years.... I'm at the point where it no longer works.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 10:26AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

Unfortunately, I have the same experience w/ many hosta. They thrive for several years and suddenly...everything in the bed gets half its size in year 3ish or so.

The tree I have the best success growing under is a trashy box elder that has been pruned by the electric company so many times it looks like a circus freak. LOL

Trees that hosta have dwindled under are cornus mas, redbuds, tulip tree and my beloved walnut tree (not as bad).

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 10:42AM
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i have many hostas growing under a 7 year old oak tree and cedar hedging and seem to do quite well; mind you it has only been three or four years.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 4:11PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I guess I should mention that there is a little creek,just behind the red maple in my garden. The Maple doesn't have to reach into my hostas to get water;it has a steady supply just near it. I have two plants right up against the trunk,and they are huge. Phil

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 5:52PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Are you including Japanese Maple in that pronouncement that hosta won't grow under maples?


    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I have 10 Japanese maples (25-30 years old)in my tiny suburban yard. No way could any hostas grow under them. But then I don't have a creek running through my yard either.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 9:22PM
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bernd ny zone5

I do not have a creek running next to one large maple either, but water regularly via an overhead sprinkler the plants all around that maple. There are hostas for up to 10 years without any decrease in vigor. There are also rhododendrons, burning bushes and hollies too. Perhaps hosta plantings under maples get in trouble when the hostas only get watered and fertilized.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:30AM
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I have the absolute worst of the Maples. Silver Maple. Not only do they have the surface roots but their flowers, seeds and dead branches make huge messes. The worst is when large branches come down right on top of a hosta crushing it.

I have grown hostas under these two huge maples for 10 years. Planting anything is a huge pain and takes 10 times longer than it should. I have to use a hatchet and pruners everytime. Something that I have learned about gardening under these trees is that you should not only water your beds, you should water the entire area. If you only water the beds the maple roots will grow towards the moisture. If you water the entire area under the canopy of the tree the roots will spread out evenly instead of concentrating the root growth in your beds that get watered.

Avoid varieties of hosta that are known to be difficult to grow. Hostas under maples need extra water. Don't rely on Mother Nature. Since beds under maples cannot be tilled you have to feed from the top. Foliar or granular foods will work but forget about ever having light and fluffy soil. It will never be as easy to grow hostas under maples but it is not impossible. Slow growers will grow slower. Difficult varieties will likely die. It just takes extra effort on your part to make hostas thrive under maple trees. I hate Silver Maples but I don't have much of a choice if I want to continue hosta gardening.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 9:01AM
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bernd ny zone5

My maples have red leaves in fall and do not have those thick surface roots I remember of one maple with yellow fall leaves of a previous house. Perhaps not all maples are really bad for hosta gardening? When I replanted this one bed 2 years ago and last year just under that very large maple 6 ft away, I did not use an ax, there were no noticeable surface roots.
On the other hand last weekend I removed a probably 30 year old pruned hemlock and 20 yr old globe arbovitae, and there I had to fight for hours to remove surface roots, They had no vertical center root, all surface only.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 9:40AM
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This is always such a hotly debated subject.

I grow hostas under maples. If I didn't, I wouldn't have any hostas because my yard is filled with maple trees.

My experience is that red maples are far less thuggish. The red maple in my front yard has a hosta bed extending up to within 5 feet of it (not directly snuggled up to the tree, though) and the hostas planted there are doing well in their second year. All of them came back, and nearly all of them came back with more eyes than they had last year. I'm satisfied that the tree isn't causing any harm to the hostas. And where I've been digging the root problem is minimal with very few surface roots to contend with.

I've heard that silver maples are jerks. ;) I'm not sure what I have in my backyard, but that maple tree is a little harder on my hostas than the one in front. I keep only my older varieties there, and they're okay but I wouldn't say they're growing nearly as well as the ones under the red maple. Roots are more of a problem with the back maples.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 10:03AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

This post causes a lot of contraversy,but the truth is,I only have the one Maple,and is no problem for me. I wouldn't know what a Silver Maple was if I saw one. Most of my garden is under Oaks,Poplars,and Dogwoods,with a few Holly trees thrown in. The biggest problem I have this time of year is Poplar petals falling and making a mess on the hostas. But,that problem goes away,as soon as all the flowers are gone. Phil

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 11:34AM
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bernd ny zone5

It would be great if their would be a list by tree species and variations in respect to which have all these hosta killing surface roots.

In respect to maples, I must have had a silver maple (light green leaves) at a former house which had arm thick roots on top of the surface probably ten feet from center, nothing grew there except a few poor grass plants. The maples I now have at my present house have green leaves now which turn fire-red in fall. They have no above-surface roots, no noticeable under-surface roots, everything grows right up to the tree trunk and prospers.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:06PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


This is from Don r's presentation on this subject. The link to the whole thing is below. I recommend it.


Tip #1 Choose your enemies.

Tree selection- Choose trees that have deep root systems. This may require tree replacement with varieties that have a deeper root system and a more open canopy.

Note: Shallow roots vs. deep root systems is somewhat of a misnomer, since nearly all trees will have 95% of their roots in the top 12-18" of soil. But some trees are known to have more fibrous root systems than others and make it nearly impossible to garden under.

Shallow and fine/dense roots system:

-all varieties including Japanese maple
-incredibly aggressive root system; will quickly grow into fresh mulch or imported top soil
-form a dense crown

-suck up a lot of water
-fast growing, aggressive root systems
-dirty tree which sheds lots of small branches

Aspen, poplars
-aggressive, fast-growing, spreading root systems; a weak tree

Beech, Birch, Honeylocust, Apple, Pear, Elm, Sweetgum, Magnolia, Mulberry

Deep root systems:

Nut trees- Hickory, Butternut (Black Walnut has tap root to China, but�)


Ash- but many fine, dense roots make it unsuitable; also emerald ash borer


Dirty Trees:

Willow, Birch, Elm, flowering trees- limbs, small branches, flower petals, and seed pods that fall onto hostas and flowers

Here is a link that might be useful: You can have a Tree-Mendous garden (scroll down)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:19PM
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bernd ny zone5

Steve and don_r, Thanks!
I had already forgotten about that thread... though I had saved it in MS Word in my Hosta folder. You did write about using that spin-out bag, I remember now. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 8:30AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the difference with phil .. might be the native forest on the side of a mountain.. where a tree put down its roots to search for water....

versus suburbia.. where the lazy trees put their roots simply under the grass and wait for the sprinklers .... and over the years.. just give up.. and bring the roots to the surface ...

frank is special [wonder if hes heard that before.. lol] ... and i think its all about him being out there ever spare moment to nurture his hosta under maple ...

can it be done.. sure.. why not. ...

will it be easy.. i say NO ... with emphasis ...

if they start to struggle .... remove them ... dont 'hope' that next year they will get better.. because odds are.. next year will not be better ... and they probably wont be there next year ...

its simply the knowledge that the odds are against you.. that will help you

if you .. like the poster ... and forgive me ... think you are going to plant them .. and walk away for a few years and they will prosper like the pix shown here .... well.. you will be trying for a 3rd time ....

as i have said.. often.. they will grow on the driveway .... but they are not going to end up looking like phils .... nor frankjims ...

my comments are all about succeeding beyond expectation.... not simple survival ...

and never forget .. its all about what hosta you plant .... if you plant an inherent weakling .. it will fail ... since it will fail in the best spot ... no non-undulata white centered plants ....

on the other hand... plant a few undulata .. heck .. they might kill the tree ... lol ... NOT!!!.. but you get the idea ...

under aggressive trees.. :

NEVER FERTILIZE ... only the plants.. the tree will grow roots to take it ...

and NEVER WATER ONLY THE PLANT .. wait for it ... the tree will grow roots to take it ...

and NEVER AMEND THE SOIL ....wait for it ... the tree will grow roots to take it ...

so for the best shot.. dig out native soil and tree roots .... remove roots ... insert hosta and native soil.. and put on the broadcast sprinkler.. just maybe.. you will fool the tree into not realizing you put somethings there [probably a good part of phils success] .. but the simple fact of cutting the roots to dig the hole.. will stimulate the tree to start making more of those fine feeder roots ....

below are pix from the neighbors septic field rebuild .... frankly i am amazed that the grass even has enough soil to grow on top ...


    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:19AM
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My red maple tree must be special or something.

My soil is light and fluffy (sandy loam). It is easy to dig.

I've rarely encountered a root I had to worry about while digging and I've never cut one. In fact, I rarely encounter roots, and the few times I have they've been close to the tree and no thicker than my pinky finger.

I'm not saying that will be everyone's experience, but it leads me to believe that all maples are not created equal.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:31AM
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You are exactly right that it isn't easy and it does take a lot of extra work. Those roots come right up no matter what you do. Mulch will shortly be turned into an interconnected matt of wood and roots. Any soil placed on top will quickly turn into what was covered. Sidewalks and driveways will be cracked and lifted.

I consider myself lucky to be able to have the extra time to help my hostas along. Unless a person gives the added attention and care, planting under maples will be a frustrating costly disappointment. If I had some other type of tree that didn't have the surface roots my hostas would grow faster and be bigger but I have to live with what I have. I have started adding other trees to replace the maples with but that in itself is a bit of a challenge to get replacements to grow beneath the maples and will take a very long time to get large enough to produce any shade.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:39AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Ken,you couldn't have said it better. I never said I never encounter roots. I do,all the time. But they are not bad,and my hostas seem to have adapted to living there. Most of my trees,in fact the overwhelming number,are not maples. I have rocks,and roots from other trees to deal with,every time I dig a new planting hole. The soil is rich,despite it being red clay,but my red clay is amended with thousands of falling leaves every year,for who knows,as long as this place existed. If you went out to a place in the blazing sun,you would have to use a pick and shovel just to dig a simple hole! 'Nuff said! Phil

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 10:02AM
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I don't really have an issue with our Red Maple either. Maybe it's just a matter of time...but I'm not too worried about it because I've got the hosta in that bed all in pots now thanks to the voles.

I've always found this a confusing issue, because from those lists, it seems many types of tree are a problem if you want to grow hosta. I hear people all the time cursing pines, birch, oaks, maples, whatever. Yet how many hosta gardens exist in treeless fields? Seems like I've seen many a picture of lush hosta gardens surrounded by trees?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:42PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


It's not your tree that's different, but it may be your soil. In the pic that Ken shows you see about 6 inches of topsoil and then sand or subsoil below that. All the maple roots are in the top soil creating a dense root mat. If your top soil is deeper and has more organic matter throughout the root zone of the maple, then you may have a situation that is different from most. However, given the soil conditions that most people have with a small layer of top soil, planting beneath Maples will be extremely difficult.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Steve, maybe that's it. Our water table here seems to be fairly high, too. We're close to a river, and the loamy soil has to do with the river's proximity, I'm sure.

That said, there are a lot more roots associated with the other maple (not sure of its name, but it has bright green leaves all season and is taller and spindlier than the red). Same soil, and the trees are maybe 40 feet apart, but these roots are all on the surface and planting under this tree is much more difficult. It's not quite the nightmare that I'd have if my soil were heavier, but it's not a breeze, either. I have only sturdy old school hostas under that tree.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 5:44PM
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HELP!:)... who has actually used the root bags FOR A LONG TIME?
I was all set to order the root bags, but a landscaper is suggesting I not not use them he says:

"Tree roots grow in search of nutrients, just like any other plants roots will. Putting poisons down to stop them from doing that is not a good idea since that can cause the death of that tree."

He says:

"The best solution to tree roots competing in a garden with other plants for available nutrients is to be sure there are enough nutrients in the soil for both, ie. make that soil into a good, healthy soil."

So I said I'd come back to get comments from you all and report back.

Would the root bags with copper in them around the hosta really KILL the tree?

The tree is over 40 years old (if it was planted when the neighborhood was built it's 47 years old)

Is retarding root growth just at and around those bags really going to THREATEN the tree. From what the makers literature says the copper in the bags retards root growth at that spot, not kills the tree.

Can't the tree still put out all the roots it wants -- just AROUND the bags, not into the bags and the hosta roots. I'm thinking the bags just allow BOTH to live and get what they need. So they can all survive.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:16AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Your last paragraph has it right. The root bags are only going to take up a little more that a cubic foot of space. There's plenty of room for tree roots. Yes, it's true that improving the soil throughout the root zone of the tree will help every plant. But how are you going to do that? Dig the tree up to improve the soil and then put it back? You can't just throw a little compost over the root area. That won't be enough. Having a bag with copper in the lining isn't "putting down poisons." You're not going to kill the tree, especially if it's a maple.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 3:29PM
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kskaren(z5 MO)

Hi Clb,
Just a note to let you know that I have been a member on that other forum for several years, and, though "said person" does know what he is talking about most of the time, other members find his advice about soil testing a bit tiring. I think this is becoming a convenient answer for him! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 4:13PM
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chris-e(7 MD)

Hi Everyone,
I just got my first bags in the mail today. I am having a problem with roots under a juniper tree, in a small section of the garden, for the first time.

Since the trouble only seems to be happening in one smallish area, I am going to try the bags for 4 or 5 plants. I don't think it will affect the tree.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 10:51PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Last winter I cut down a bunch of red maples and for the past month have been grubbing out the roots. The roots were thick and close to the surface. The soil was quite shallow; a top layer of about 4" of duff, then 2' of sand. Under the sand layer is all hardpan.

In another area of the yard the was a snall section about 100 sq. ft. that had several Am. beech tree saplings about 1 - 3" in diameter that I thought I would cut down and pull out the roots. Well lo and behold those saplings were attached to massive roots-some over 5" in diameter! Originally I had intended to plant hosta in this section. However it was so thick with beech and white ash roots I only put in three hostas (honeybells I think) and planted the rest with common daylily (H fulva). I figure if anything can survive in this spot these two will. Honeybells (I need to positively ID this one) is my toughest and most prolific hosta. I even have one growing on a cinder block!
You can see the size of the beech (and ash) trees in the backgroung that the beech saplings suckered from.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:01AM
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chris-e where did you get your bags? I called the supplier that was linked to above. always got a phone message and the name didn't match the website. so I never left a message. I haven't been able to find anywhere in my MD area that sells them. Thanks for the help

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 6:19PM
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chris-e where did you get your bags? I called the supplier that was linked to above. always got a phone message and the name didn't match the website. so I never left a message. I haven't been able to find anywhere in my MD area that sells them. Thanks for the help

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 7:49PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Just Google spinout and you will find a couple of suppliers. One is Horticulture Specialties.

Could also Google Tex-r-Agroliner
Ame-Mackenzie Nursery Supply

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:48AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I got mine from Wild Rose distributing. They have a banner ad on the front page of the Hosta Library. Link below


Here is a link that might be useful: wild rose distributing

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 6:20AM
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Maple trees are like black walnuts in the regard that they are alleopathic (self weeding), which may account for some of the problem growing certain plants under them, especially grass. They are also very surface rooted, water and nutrient hogs, and the roots will grow up into any layer of mulch or soil you put over the feeder roots.

Also, the feeder roots are not really close to the tree, where the huge support roots tend to stick out above the ground. They are at and beyond the drip line (where the ends of the branches are--if you read any bag of tree fertilizer directions it always tells you to put tree food around the tree at the drip line, not close to the trunk). If you plant fairly close to the trunk you'll avoid the fine feeder root problem. I've never had a problem digging there.

I've had hostas growing inside the drip line of my big Norway Chrimson King maple for some 25 years. They don't get huge, as they would in a bed with plenty of running room, but they hold their own and look good. I removed the grass a long time ago around this old tree as it was impossible to mow around it due to the huge surface roots, and let the native violets come up around it as ground cover with some ajuga. Recently, in addition to the hostas, a colony of rudbeckias has moved in there, and they are flourishing. There are also coral bells, nandinas, dwarf crape myrtles, ground cover sedums, French strawberries, a forsythia, an old dogwood. clematis, and a mixed perennial bed within reach of those greedy roots that are all thriving. So you see, it is possible to grow things under a maple, if you pick the right plants. I give supplimental water in the hot dry summer months but I never fertilize anything under there.

Now, a giant hackberry in the woods garden......that is another story. The jury is still out on that one but it appears even more alleopathic than the black walnut with roots even more aggressive than the maple and its thick canopy prevents rain from reaching the ground. Time will tell on the new bed I'm trying in this area. I know it doesn't like veriegated kerria under there, I'm going to have to move this little shrub that has been struggling for the last few years in its shade. It isn't going to overcome the odds.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 7:56AM
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Thanks all for the help. I called Wild Rose. and the phone message says a different name. Perhaps someone should tell them that if they're going to have the name of a company perhaps THAT should be at least mentioned on their answering machine, not some other name (CB Tree Designs or some such) that a customer may never have heard of. That alone turned me off from them. It sounded like I called someone's house or something. NOT a business. The voice said the name so quickly I couldn't even make it out. I also went to the Tex-R website contacted a couple of suppliers they said they always order it. Is there no STORE that sells these things? Thanks

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 3:05PM
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linda_p(Z 5, NW IL)

Wild Rose is owned by the same person as CBiii Designs. I've not ever called the number, but do know the owner personally. He's perfectly trustworthy.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Just wanted to add my 2 cents. I have 2 silver maples in my backyard. One much larger than the other and have struggled for seven years for anything to grow underneath it. When we first moved in, I was wondering why it was such a weedy mess under that tree and even grass couldn't grab a hold. I took a couple of white edged hostas and put them in thinking that I was going to start a little shade garden. Little did I know. Within a year, the hostas were gone. What everyone says about those roots is TRUE. Within a couple of seasons, the tree roots strangle the hosta and then... they're gone. I 'll share with you what I have learned since then. It is possible to grow certain hostas and other perennials under silver maples. After losing countless hostas, what I have found is that some are more capable of fending of those roots than others. Sum and Substance, Frances Williams, Blue Cadet, Krossa Regal, Green Fountain and Elegans are growing, but they do grow slowly. The ones that didn't work are halcyon, Blue Angel,Francee, Sagae, Fortunei types and any of the white edged ones. Since I get dappled sunlight, I have also grown daylillies, Iris and vinca sucessfully but they are also slow to multiply. I even have purple coneflower spreading quite well under there. Lady fern does grow, but doesn't spread as much. It is much better looking that that scraggly mess when we moved in, but it is an uphill battle. If you aren't ready for the challenge, it is better to mulch it over and plant in attractive containers.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 9:36AM
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The key to growing hostas under Silver Maples is water, water, water. If the ground looks dry, I water. If it only rained a little, I water. I don't have a choice to garden anywhere other than under two huge Silver Maples so I learned quick that you have to water often and water deep.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 10:06AM
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valereee(6a SW Ohio)

I do have some blue angel under a large maple in my back yard that have been there about 10 years. They were doing okay -- increasing but very slowly -- until we built an addition two years ago that blocks the morning sun, which was the only sun they were getting. They're dwindling now, and this year one of them didn't come up. I'd like to dig them up but the roots of the maple are just huge. I do wish there were SOMETHING that would grow under the darn thing. It shades our deck and patio, so I don't want to cut it down, but if I could I would!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 4:18PM
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valereee(6a SW Ohio)

Try this instead:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 4:21PM
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