Ideas for groundcover under sweet gum w/exposed roots?

faerybutterflye(7B OK)April 27, 2013

Hi folks, I just moved into a new house with a huge old sweet gum tree in the front yard. The roots are really exposed & basically my whole front yard is roots & shade. I'm looking for ideas for a rapidly spreading good groundcover that will work underneath, in the shallow soil available under the tree.

My mom has some Commelina cyanea, with the blue flowers, that I was thinking of taking cuttings off of & attempting to root. Does anyone have experience with this? They look like Wandering Jew & are very similar, from what I can gather. Thoughts?

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gardengal48

Commelina is native to moist woodlands - I think you need to be looking at plants tolerant of dry shade. And off the top of my head, I can't think of any that would grow under those extremely minimal soil conditions. And adding soil is not exactly an option. As little as a couple of inches of soil added over the root system/dripline of established trees can effectively smother the roots and eventually kill the tree.

I'd stick with a thin layer of some sort of mulch and call it good. The more textural the mulch - gravel, bark nuggets, wood chips - the less of an issue it is for the tree. If you want color, place a couple of planted containers around the base.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 5:03PM
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