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Ideas for GC under sweet gum w/exposed roots?

Posted by faerybutterflye 7B OK (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 23:03

Hi folks, we just moved to a new house with a huge sweet gum tree in the front yard. I love the shade, but man, the roots are exposed so badly! I'm looking for ideas for a ground cover to spread rapidly to cover the base of the tree & the shady section of the yard underneath it. The roots are so exposed that the soil is very shallow, so how would that factor into your choice? Any ideas?

My mom has some Commelina cyanea with the blue flowers & I was considering taking cuttings off that.

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RE: Ideas for GC under sweet gum w/exposed roots?

  • Posted by bmoo z6 NJ (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 18:06

I realize this post was a while ago, but I just saw it today. Anyway, if you're still looking for answers, we had a similar issue, although our tree was surrounded by grass. The roots came up just like your photo, making mowing a real headache.

Last fall we had a bunch of landscaping done and the solution for this problem was to add a couple of inches of top soil and plant ground cover in that. We had a whole bunch of vinca that we needed to move from another bed so that's what we put in. It seems to be settling in nicely.

From what we learned at that time, the key point is to cover the roots by no more than 2 inches of soil but that adding that amount should be okay. You might want to verify that advice yourself, but so far (10 months later) tree and vinca seem to be doing fine.

RE: Ideas for GC under sweet gum w/exposed roots?

Covering a tree with more dirt is dangerous. Don't surround the trunk with dirt! That would make it rot.

Moss likes shallow dirt. Clover makes fertilizer, so there would be an added benefit to planting that.

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