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Ah, the dreaded Norway maple

I have a Norway maple tree in my front yard...north side of my house. (Didn't plant it...came with the house... :roll: It's a mature tree with a dense canopy and the root system from hell...NOTHING will grow under it. I've tried growing grass...even Scotts EZ Green that will grow on concrete...for the past few years. It starts out ok but I always end up with zero grass and loads of dirt by fall.

Is there anything I can grow under this tree or am I stuck with mulch, mulch and nothing but mulch? I'm trying to plan something for spring but am rather stymied. Will shade-loving perennials do well or will the roots eventually choke them out? I've thought of just screaming like a banshee and hacking the tree down with an axe but my neighbors might get nervous....LOL Containers might be ok if I can arrange them in a pleasing way, but dang it....there must be SOMETHING that will grow....besides weeds...any ideas anyone??

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Kisal
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Short of removing the tree altogether, and replacing it with a different species, you could build a raised bed under the Norway maple. However, the tree's roots would eventually grow up into it and take it over. You might use several large planted containers to make an attractive grouping under the tree. Those trees produce dense shade, so whatever plants you chose to grow there would have to like that kind of environment. I planted variegated pachysandra in a deep shade spot at a former home I owned. I liked the way the variegated leaves and white flowers brightened the area. Some varieties of rhododendron will grow and even bloom in dense shade. If you were to use dwarf varieties, you could even grow them in large containers. I'm just not sure what plants can successfully compete for nutrients when grown under a Norway maple. I think that might be a bigger problem than the shade, to tell the truth.

You could do a search on the [url=https://www.garden.org/plantfinder/]National Gardening Association Plant Finder[/url]. It could give you some ideas of where to start, anyway. I'm sure other members here will have some good ideas for you, as well. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Pineville
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Planting under a Norway Maple can be quite frustrating. The shallow roots remove all moisture from the the ground, creating a densely shaded desert beneath the canopy. This tree is very invasive- it seeds prolifically and out competes many native trees. I would encourage you to cut it down, have the stump removed, and plant a different tree.

If you can't bear the thought of removing the tree, there are a few plants that will survive under a Norway Maple. Nothing will thrive without irrigation. I have had some success with Epemedium, and Lamiastrum (also somewhat invasive).

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microcollie
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You made an interesting comment in your original post, about something besides weeds. This could help here. Take a look at the types of weeds that prosper, and you'll find the answer to the question. Many/most cultivated plants were originally "weeds". Let us know what does grow there, and maybe we can help with suggestions of attractive cultivars.

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applestar
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Aren't there a bunch of volunteer baby seedlings growing from the helicopters the tree spreads everywhere? Your neighbors might actually thank-you if you "hack down" the tree (screaming like a banshee is optional -- you'd know best how well your neighbors would take it. :wink: ) :>

Guest

Thanks....

Thanks for the swift replies... :D

Cutting the tree down isn't an option right now, though it's something I'll consider in the future. For some reason, critters love this tree. There are two squirrels' nests and four birds' nests in the branches. Also my sons love it for the shade it gives over their basketball hoop....oy.

I could try a raised bed but unless it was deep enough to put in a weed fabric or some other barrier to the roots, it might not be worth the time and expense. I may consult a landscaping company for a way to do that....hmmmm.

Containers are the other possibility or nothing at all, but I don't like a large, bare area in my front yard....ok for the back though. I have managed to grow a few things under a silver maple in my back yard....Lady's Mantle, Hosta, Japanese Painted Fern and Lungwort seem to do well there in spite of the abundant roots. I do know that Norway Maple excretes a chemical that discourages anything else from growing under it...that and soaking up water like a giant sponge.

Grrrrr....

:x

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