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Help! My family cemetery plot lies under a large Oak tree. The grounds beneath it are full of weeds. Can you tell us the steps to restore a healthy grass at this plot? – Janet
Unfortunately, healthy grass will not grow
under an oak tree. The ground is too dry because
the oak's roots are competing for the moisture in the
soil (the tree will win), and it's too shady for grass
to grow. Grass needs moisture and sun to thrive
and under an oak tree it gets neither.
Your best bet
is to plant dry shade loving ground cover that will
flourish under the oak tree. Some choices would
be: Barrenwort (Epimedium), Liriope, Bugle Weed
(Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' or 'Burgundy Glow'), Dead
Nettle (Lamium), Geranium macrorrhizum (perennial
Geranium, not the annual Geranium),
Vinca, Christmas Fern, or Lily of the Valley. All
of these plants are spreaders to some degree.
Some take longer to fill in an area than others.
Pull out all of the existing weeds, by the roots,
before planting. It would be best to amend the
soil with some moisture-holding compost and
leaf litter before planting and then mulch around
the plants to hold in the moisture and keep
the weeds down. The new plants would have to
be watered deeply a couple of times per
week during the growing season until they get
established, but any one of these plants would
love it under the oak.
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.