Maple trees dapple their beauty in any garden and are a natural delight, but if you want a grassy lawn to pair, will it grow under them? Shady areas aren’t for the faint grasses, especially under large Maple leaves, and any gardener is aware of this challenge.
Grass can grow under Maple trees but will die eventually because of the shade, lack of water, and natural chemicals inhibiting growth. So if you want the grass to stay beneath a Maple tree, you’ll need to make a continual effort.
Why Grass Struggles To Grow Under Maple Trees?
Maples are lively trees with their thick leafy canopy and exposed roots.
Their structure allows little rainfall beneath them, as it catches a lot of the rain with their leaves, preventing it from reaching below the canopy.
The tree’s roots absorb the rainfall that does reach the ground. A lack of water makes the environment unpleasant for grass.
Maple trees’ thick canopy blocks sunlight from reaching the ground, which makes it challenging even for shade-friendly grass species.
Due to the poor sunlight and exposed roots, the ground underneath Maples lacks nutrients that need constant attention to grow grass.
Many grass species can grow in shaded areas. Still, you must manually water them often enough, as rainfall won’t provide enough water.
Best Grass That Grows In Shade?
Grass species that survive shade include Pennsylvania Sedge, Zoysia, Bluegrass, Fine Fescue, Chewings Fescue, Carpetgrass, and many others. Although you can get this grass to grow, you must keep replanting seeds to maintain it.
In addition to poor sunlight, water, and nutrients, Maple trees are allelopathic, a biological occurrence where biochemicals influence the growth of other plants. Its allelopathic nature prevents new plants from growing around it to save the nutrients and water for itself.
How To Grow Grass Under Maple Trees?
Since growing grass under Maple trees is a huge challenge, there are many things you need to do to keep it growing. Because of the harsh environment, the grass will eventually die if you don’t keep replanting occasionally.
Here are some tips to help you grow grass under maple trees.
Prepare The Soil
First, you must prepare the earth beneath the Maple tree to ensure the ground has enough nutrients to grow.
You can use mulch and topsoil; you should add some every time you plant grass. You’ll need to plant grass seeds every fall – many of them!
You’ll need to double the number of seeds you grow to give the grass a fighting chance. By planting them in the fall, they’ll sprout in early spring.
You’ll need to regularly water the area beneath the Maple tree, even if it has been raining. But first, check to see how wet the ground is before you add more water after the rain.
Overwatering is bad news because it makes mud puddles that are bad for grass.
Since there aren’t many nutrients around the roots, you’ll need to combat this by fertilizing the area regularly to promote growth and maintain the grass thickness.
It would be best to opt for grass-specific fertilizer as it has everything that grass needs to thrive in a shady environment.
Cut The Branches
Another crucial step to keeping the grass under Maple trees happy is cutting down branches to thin out the canopy.
Doing this allows much more sunlight and rainfall onto the area, which is vital for healthy grass. It’s a lot of work, but worth it to make all your other efforts and spent money worthwhile.
Find Another Solution
To summarize, you’ll need to prepare the soil with topsoil, plant many grass seeds every fall, water even after rainfall, add fertilizer regularly, and trim the branches to let sunlight and rain through.
Growing grass under Maple trees is a huge challenge; therefore, you may benefit from other plants or ideas.
Other Plants You Can Plant Under Maple Trees
Since grass is a tough one to crack under the mighty Maple tree, there are other plant options out there that would thrive and make your garden unique and gorgeous.
Plants that don’t need to root deep and are drought-resistant are best.
Most plants struggle to survive among the Maple tree’s roots. You can opt for flowers like Columbines, Daffodils, and Hellebores. Bear in mind that you will need to dig a little to get them in the ground, which means you will damage some of the maple tree’s roots, but it will survive.
Avoid the thicker roots, as those are the most important.
Planting flowers also entails a lot of watering and maintenance. You might be better off with a groundcover plant.
Lily of The Valley is a beautiful plant with bell-like flowers that reproduces quickly and is low maintenance. The other groundcover options that grow beautifully under Maple trees include Violets, Sweet Woodruff, and Vinca Minor.
Stonecrop, also known as Sedum, is one option that barely fails, as it is a hardy plant that likes to grow between stones.
They don’t like water much nor care for too much sun, making them the perfect solution. Stonecrop also copes well with a lack of nutritious soil. There are over 400 species, with evergreen options available.
Other Ideas for Under Your Maple Tree
Grass, plants, and flowers are just some options when decorating the space beneath a mighty maple tree. However, the benefit of other landscaping options will save you time, money, and effort while allowing for an astounding garden.
With these options, you won’t miss grass too much.
You can outline the tree’s perimeter with small square garden stones or wooden trimming to lay out the area and give a uniform look.
You can then fill in the outlined boundary with wood chips or peach pips that you can buy at your local gardening shop—another option is to fill in the area with stones.
You can find pearly white stones, regular grey building stones, or pebbles from a river.
Stones add a lovely warmth to the area. To top off the rocky area, add an outdoor bench to enjoy the maple trees’ shade on a hot sunny day.
Unfortunately, growing grass under maple trees can be challenging due to the dry and shady conditions. If you decide to plant grass under it, plant the types that do best in the shade, such as; Pennsylvania Sedge, Zoysia, Bluegrass, Fine Fescue, Chewings Fescue, and Carpetgrass.
That said, growing will still be challenging because the maple tree root system and constant shade will make it difficult for grass to grow.
You may want to consider some of the alternative landscape ideas we provided above, such as pebbles, mulch, shade-tolerant ground cover, mulch, or plants that do well in the shade.
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