Container Gardening Under Trees – Growing Potted Plants Under A Tree

Outdoor Potted Plants And Trees
pots uner tree
(Image credit: sonatali)

A tree container garden can be a great way to make use of bare space. Due to shade and competition, it can be hard to grow plants under trees. You end up with patchy grass and a lot of dirt. Containers present a good solution, but don’t go overboard or you could stress the tree.

Container Gardening under Trees

Digging into the soil to put plants under a tree can be problematic. For instance, the roots are difficult or impossible to dig around. Unless you cut the roots in certain places, their locations will dictate your arrangement.

An easier solution, and one that will give you more control, is to use containers. Container flowers under a tree can be arranged however you like. You can even move them out to the sun as needed.

If you really want plants level with the ground, consider digging in a few strategic places and sinking containers. This way you can change plants out easily and the roots from the tree and the plants will not be in competition.

Risks of Putting Planters Under a Tree

While potted plants under a tree may seem like a good solution to bare spots, root competition, and tricky shaded areas, there is also one reason to be cautious – it could be damaging to the tree. The harm this may cause will vary depending on the size and number of planters, but there are a few issues:

Planters add extra soil and weight over the roots of the tree, which restricts water and air. Soil piled up against the trunk of a tree can lead to rot. If it gets bad enough and affects bark all around the tree, it may eventually die. The stress of plantings over the tree’s roots can make it more vulnerable to pests and disease.

A few smaller containers should not stress out your tree, but large planters or too many containers may cause more damage than your tree can handle. Use smaller pots or just a couple of larger pots. To avoid compressing soil around the roots, put containers on top of a couple of sticks or container feet.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.