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Millions of hosta lovers grow hostas under trees, but there are some things to consider.

Every variety of tree grows differently.  Some trees’ roots grow near or above the soil surface and some grow further into the ground.  Some trees are sensitive to soil changes, while others are not.   Keep in mind that a tree’s roots often extend out to the edge of the tree’s crown (leaf growth) of the tree.

The positives:

  • Hostas by trees may get morning sun, late afternoon sun, or filtered light, all of which are ideal. They are more likely to be protected from the intense overhead sun from about noon to 4:30.
  • Hostas may get some hail protection.
  • You can reduce or eliminate the need for weeding or cutting grass around a tree.
  • The base of your tree will look more attractive.

The negatives:

  • Competition for moisture and nutrients—the soil may already be partially depleted, and tree roots can wrap around hosta roots.
  • It may be difficult to dig a hole due to dense tree roots.   (Our garden trowel can help.)
  • Hostas under trees may not get enough light.  Hostas do need some light!   For less light, select a dark green or blue hosta as these varieties have more chlorophyll.

Solutions:

  • Some hosta lovers plant their hostas in containers in the ground to protect the hosta from tree roots.   The container must allow for adequate growth of the hosta’s rhizomes (roots) and have good drainage.  About twice a year, turn the container about 120 degrees in case any tree roots are getting into the drainage holes.   You can also cut out the bottom of the pot.
  • Provide extra water and fertilizer.

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