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Flowers Under Shade Trees

There's a quick fix for a tree that chokes out the sunlight, and with it any hope of growing grass: Encircle the tree with shade plants.

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Although plantings around a tree create a lovely landscape, you need to observe a few precautions to protect the tree. To avoid severing or damaging tree roots, do not dig under a tree's canopy. Instead of digging, spread a layer of topsoil no more than 4 inches deep over the ground. Cover this layer with a 2-inch-deep mulch of chopped leaves, which will decompose into a rich humus. Dig your planting holes in this new medium. Another precaution -- when planting, be careful not to damage the tree trunk.

The photograph shows a circle of Hostas and Impatiens, two staples of a shade garden. You also can jazz up the areas beneath trees with other shade-loving plant:

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  • Ajuga
  • Astilbe
  • Caladium
  • Epimedium
  • Ferns
  • Foamflower
  • Fuchsia
  • Lily-of-the-valley
  • Liriope
  • Lungwort
  • Solomon's-seal
  • Spiderwort
  • Wild ginger
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