• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Can I Garden under Live Oak?

 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK, I'm crazily going to edible garden my whole front lawn. Problem is most of the lawn is shaded by 25 year old live oaks. All of which this year have decided they are going to send up suckers that have replaced the grass. I'm In South Texas zone 9a so I do get quite a bit of sun and heat. I'm wondering if there is anything someone can do to garden right were the suckers from the live oaks are popping up? Would landscaping fabric work? Do I need to till before doing so? Can I bury the fabric? etc! @_@
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 382
Location: South West France
24
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been making a windbreak/heat trap on the west side of our house, battling with oaks for a while in very sandy poor soil with galleries of moles everywhere. 

A lot of the edible things I planted died or had to be rescued and replanted elsewhere but little by little, it's coming together. This has taken about six years to establish. I didn't use a membrane, just planted and mulched.

I can give you a plant list of all the things that are growing well if you like.









 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On a road trip last weekend, I saw lots of pastureland with live oaks scattered around. It seemed to be mostly thistles underneath the canopy, instead of the grass with occasional poppy or allium in the rest of the land. I've heard allelopathy is the explanation for this.

That list of plants would be good to know about!
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, I agree, I would like to know any plants that can survive under a live oak. I took some pictures and decided I needed to be a bit more clear about my actual problem. So you know exactly what I'm battling. Suckers are are when a tree likes to throw off branches at the base of the trunk or throw branches out of their roots that resemble baby trees. My current problem is that, while you can't tell by my pictures, about 1/3 of my front lawn is made up of baby trees.. in some places the baby trees are the only thing growing and there is no grass at all... just mown baby trees that feel horrible to walk on barefoot.

This is a sucker / baby tree that missed the mower.


This is the lawn with 9 oak trees I have to deal with. (whole lawn not included) Around 1/3 of the green that looks like grass are baby live oak trees. =/

 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 382
Location: South West France
24
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That looks very like how our oaks were before I underplanted - except there was no lawn.



The problem is that oaks don't like rich soil and you have to choose plants for right up close to the oaks that do well on poor soil or just leaf feed with compost tea or directly at the roots of each plant. Fortunately a lot of mediterranean plants like sage, lavender etc. do well in those conditions and once they're established.

I find too that raspberries do well next to oaks but tend to stay away from under the canopy but the suckers do need to be controlled because they get into all the other plants, take over yet don't produce much fruit. Here, I've dug them up and planted pumpkins far from the oak roots and the leaves spread towards the oak and benefit from the shade in high summer.



I'll put together a list of plants which have done well - it's difficult to see everything in photos. 

 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
so I'll need to dig up all the suckers? would renting a tiller work? once tilled wouldn't the suckers eventually come back? That is why I was thinking about using landscaping fabric so the suckers couldn't pop back up again.
we stopped trying to have an actual lawn about 25 years ago. My parents have just been cutting down what ever was growing so the neighbors would stop calling the city on us for having our grass too long. it's been about 10 years since we've used any fertilizer on it too.. miracle gro i think... I guess i should say, my own is 1/3 suckers, 1/3 grass, and 1/3 bare patches with weeds. lol.. yeah... i don't care for lawns personally I'm more interested in growing food because what little organic food there is at the store for me to buy... it would more then triple my monthly budget. =/ besides... fresher is better... and i want to remineralize the soil with stuff like rock dust and seaweed (an hours drive from the coast). is doing stuff like that going to hurt my oaks? Can't say I love my oaks.. I want to grow fruit trees and there isn't really much space left to grow trees on my property because of all the shade trees. =/
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Pie
Posts: 19856
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So your plan is to have no more grass, right?  And what is the sun like right there?
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
So your plan is to have no more grass, right?  And what is the sun like right there?

yeah, my ultimate goal is to have no grass and lots of edibles.. and mulch were I'm not growing at the moment. South Texas has pretty dry low humus soil that's a bit alkaline.. lots of caliche (layer of clay like stuff a 1 or 2 feet down) The humidity here makes the usual 90 degree weather feel 20 degrees hotter. The sun is very bright here so year round growing is possible if you cover your plants from cold front winds. Everything that grows around here naturally is covered in thorns and spines and very straggly. (mostly mesquite trees, johnson grass, and cactus) I want to counter act the dryness of the soil by doing drip irrigation. o_o

The sunlight under my oak trees i want to garden under only block mid-day light, mornings and evenings light hits the ground directly. My oaks don't seem to be very good shade trees as most of the year the shadows they cast around only about 60% shaded in and it is actually were the trees cast their shadows most heavily is were the last of the original grass planted in the lawn resides.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  Dig up your suckers and sell them or give them away. Maybe you could have  a nursery section and to grow them up a bit to make them more worth buying. 
  What i have read backs up what irene knightly says oaks dont like too much nitrogen mediterenean ones dont like a lot of water in summer either. I don't know much about normal vegetables but I think maybe most of them do like a lot of nitrogen. They are not allolepathetic things do grow under them, or not as much so as beeches whoese falllen leaves have a substance that inhibits the growth of ohter plants i believe the mediterenean one even comes under the type of tree htat helps the growth of oplants at its feet and they used to collect the earth from under them for their vegetable garden . as does the khari tree or ghaf a arabian desert indian trees prosopsis cinarea  the grass stays green for deeper into the dry seaason under mediterenean oaks and they grow cereals under them too of course not lall oaks would be exactly the same . Their deep roots feed their shallow roots with water because the shallow ones lose water to the soil in summer instead of taking it up from the soil,losing water to the soil is called  negative root pressure if i remember right.
    I would saya s irene knightly that things that are poor soil hardy will live under the trees as irene says.
  The trees are pretty young now they should give more shade as time goes by if you see thousand year old trees the girth of their trunks is enormouse I think people walk around imagining fifty year old trees are really old, in England for example they said they cut down all the old trees for the war, the inside of boats and such i suppose, so we don't really see many old trees there, more in the mediteranean where there are old olives. Thats why are trees are so boring they are so young and that means trees with a boring shape. There are some fabulouse trees and forests  in America though.
    The English permaculturist Robert  Hart you could look up his youtube videos the words _robert hart permaculture- should give them to you. for forest gardening. Beans growing up trees should be pretty they have flowers .  Having lots of levels  is correct permaculture,  high trees, low trees and then bushes and herbaciouse plants roots and climbers .and in Texas you must have plenty of sun so it should work well. No lawn can be prettier than a lwn grass seds and flowers are really pretty for example , leave a slither of lawn to to lie on . agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
        What they do or did with oaks that have lots of suckers, here in Spain till a very short while ago, was to coppice them, cut down the trees for fire or stove wood that reached nine centimetres diameter of trunks and let them regrow from the roots. Also they let  all their suckers grow. I imagine the word thicket comes from woods kept like this, full of suckers as well as thicker trunks. I think you go in once a year and cut out the trunks that have got big enough to use as fire wood leavign the others for next year.
I read in a gardening book on gaie gardening, holistic garden techniques, about having your own trees for fire wood. the idea of the book was, we can't as individuals change the world but if we all green up our patches and refrain from using poisons on them we could make a difference.  One of the suggestions in that book was  that one could have a thicket as part of ones plot, to provide youself with your own fire wood. Of course now we are so worried about carbon dioxide, burning our own wood is a bit of a moral problem, we should be doing solar heating passive and active, and be puttign in wind mills if we all have a wind mill the energy requirement of hte countries would be greatly reduced. 
      Here they export a lot of charcoal, they provide Europe with charcoal for their barbacoas.
      I have written a lot about how they treat oaks here in Spain but not in the organic practices section of these forums or the permaculture one but in the one on woodland care. It might interest you, Spain has extensive oak tree and pasture farms, they have special ways of forming the trees and lots of uses for them. rose macaskie.
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting! I think i've heard of robert hart. I use to study permaculture a lot in the past but couldn't garden until this year because I was just too sick to do it. Raw foods healed me and I'm interested in permaculture for all new reasons now! After getting a deep understanding of nutrition and what is optimal for my health. I've decided to make my permaculture dream come true! The fresher and more clean the foods the better for me. Also, I want to grow plants that have their full spectrum of minerals possible for each plant as I do not like the idea of eating only foods from depleted soil. You are what you eat, and i want some food in my diet that is not depleted. Plus, gardening is my new exercise. hehe. == Soooo, My ultimate goal is to produce the most health promoting food I can.
I'm also so far south that the idea of needing wood for a fire is an alien concept for me. So the only thing that comes to mind as a use for a thicket is fodder for growing gourmet mushrooms... which is another project for another time. o_o

Honestly I was considering cutting down an oak tree or 2 only because I'm out of room to plant any new trees and my original dream was to move somewhere and grow my own personal orchard.  sort of a noah's arch of fruit and nut trees. I believe I'm near having 80 trees on my lot and it's not even an acre in size. Now knowing that cutting down an oak might mean I have a thicket instead is... not the best feeling.

Interesting that my trees could produce an income for me.  Though in texas I would have to be a registered plant nursey to even be able to raise plants for the purpose of selling. A lot of hoops to jump thru to get that.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
iit is permaculture to grow a lot of different food plants in a hot countr.y How much partial shade may they need would your oaks be good nurse trees or bad ones? Anyone know about nurse trees?
    I think growing lots of food  is permaculture because if you are worried about soils you need, in poorer  places to convince people they can eat and have better soils and it is the duty of richer people to prove this point on their land, if they are fighting for the cause.
      On the other hand cutting down trees to produce more food is a bit of a distaster with global warming. Its alright with a small garden but the idea spreads to bigger farms.
      Of course if you plant more trees alright, though in the meditereaen they grow fruit trees and olives in such a way as to assure a lack of vegetable matter for the soil.  head of trees is highly pruned, prunned branches are taken off for biofuels, they seldom have  competing vegetation under the tres to produce mulch, though meadow plants dry off in the summer and so don't compete in the hard season, this means gradually poorer soils every year. Maybe oaks don't like too much nitrogen but they probably don't like a totaly lack of it either.
    If you don't want the trees you just keep on cutting, i don't think plants resist that especiallly in a climate with a bad off season. The trees  will give you lots of mulch. You will need lots of leguminouse plants to help produce nitrogen for the nitrogen guzzling bactreria that eat mulch. a packet of clover seed maybe.
    Heidi Guldemeister who talks of gardening in the mediteranean, of planting what likes a dry season to avoid irrigation, one water harvesting method is not to use it, says that the passing shade of a tree is good in a hot country, the shade  passes as the sun moves. In the south of Spain in the province of Cordova Las Pedroches, they cut a whole branch off the oaks if they notice the shade is too heavy for the pastures below.Generally their the trees only have one branch.
  Could be a good idea to cut out most of the head of the oaks so the oaks dont shade the plants too much but then you would still have their roots keeping the ground damp well into the dry season because the tap roots feed the superficial ones, untill your new trees had some really good sinker roots. agri rose macaskie.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
myself, although not familiar with live oaks or Texas..my guess would be to put some raised beds out a ways from the trunks..and put some barrier fabric under the raise beds to prevent the suckers from coming through..and plant in the raised beds..(framed or bermed),
this should give you the proper nutrients for your plantings

choose things that prefer a little shade such as colder weather crops..not sure what those are in Texas but here they are coles, lettuces, etc.

you might not be able to grow them in your heat..don't know.

if you can find a perennial ground cover that works there that is edible that might also help..here i have aegopodium ..or also called silver edge goutweed, that does wonderful in the deep litter under the dense shade in my zone 4/5 Michigan property, it is edible..and very highly invasive in shade..so it spread very well here..but needs a barrier to keep it out of your gardens....likely it wouldn't grow in the hot sun.
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in Central Florida and I do have stuff planted in areas with some shade from live oaks.

My situation is wetter than yours but I don't have any clay layer to hold any water really.  I've got water repellent sand so even in our wet climate, I still have drip irrigation set up.

Anyway, I made a circle about 8' out from a medium large live oak in my front yard where I planted ferns and Aloe.  The aloe likes shade.  And I have a raised bed in a wood box in the shade of that tree that is growing some nice cool weather stuff still but will probably start suffering from the heat soon.
The partial shade is not a problem for some plants, especially in the summer but will probably give you more trouble trying to grow northern cool weather stuff in winter that wants more sun.

I have done some lasagna garden beds that are not right in under the big oak but they are still within the drip line of that tree and so get a fair bit of shade from the tree and there are roots into those beds from the tree.  Lettuce, turnips, and onions have done well in those beds as have some peanuts in summer.  In the back yard where some beds were on the South side of some oak trees so they got good winter sun, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, veronica, kale and many other cool weather sun loving crops did very well for me.

I personally would advise against the barrier fabric, it has always been a pain for me cause things still manage to poke through it and once they do, they are harder to deal with.  Instead, I would recommend lasagna gardening methods (I know some people here don't like the use of paper/cardboard but it's what I do.)

However, to avoid killing your oak trees, you might avoid building up too thick of lasagna garden beds all the way around a tree in one season and don't run the beds right up against the trunks of the trees either.  The tree's feeder roots take in air and if you go burying the ground around a tree too deeply all the way around, it is possible to kill the tree.  I have also noted, that building up a raised bed under the canopy of a live oak tree, the tree will send roots up into that bed.  This could make pulling carrots a little frustrating for the impatient types.  It is still possible to pull the carrots, it just takes a little careful digging around with one's fingers and then gently pulling the carrot free rather than simply yanking on the tops (which would result in a bunch of tops in your hand and carrots still lodged in the ground and far more difficult to pull up without the tops attached.)  If you are planting in beds under oak trees, you will not be forking those beds over in future seasons without encountering tree roots.  This is a major reason I like no till garden methods as I don't have very much garden space without trees near by in my 1/3rd acre lot.

Some pruning and thinning of the tree canopy and perhaps removal of certain trees may well open up some better garden space for you.  And I personally like topping some of the small oaks to become natural posts to hold up fencing, bird feeders, shade, etc, they just need regular pruning thereafter since they will send out new growth until they give up.

Good luck, it might take some trial and error but I believe you will find ways or find things that will work for you!
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i live in a forest of live oaks, we have a few black oaks as well. I garden around them very successfully. I even have plants growing in almost 100% dappled shade from the oaks. There are open spots in the canopy so the sun shows itself in some areas each day. Also plants in small open areas that get mostly full day sun. some plants actually do much better in the summers heat when under cover of the oak trees vs. being out in the full sun.

 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
soil How far south are you? i always wonder how they can have a food forest in England as Robert Hart does as ti si not always very sunny in England. He says you have a clearing in a na
      While it seems evident that  shade maybe useful in the south i am impatient to know how far you can go giving things shade in the South as there does not seem to be much work done on this.
  I would cut down the oaks if i wanted fruit trees except i woudl try growing the fruit  in the shade till they got started if the weather was very hot and sunny, and what i say about their root skeeping the soil wet in summer for a while is true, apart from there being studies on hydrauylic redistribution I have seen the grass stay green longer under evergreen oaks than out in the open. Also shade is so important for the gardener in the south. agri rose macaskie.
   
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  The other tthing they do with oaks here is to have them as what they call low mountain which means hill coverd in bushes arather than trees though it sounds as itf it means low mountains.
    the oak bushes  are called chaparas and the spainish influence must be the reason places are called chaparrals in North America. It means keeping a few trees to be kept as bushes. They cut down the bushes every so often to cobvert the sticks into charcoal. If you turned your trees into bushes you would keep the benefits of their roots without having too much shade. May be some oaks have a greater tendency to send up suckers than others the oaks have seen kept as bushes are the evergreen oaks. used for forage as well as charcoal.
I put in a photo of evergreen oak, the subspecies of it the quercus ilex subspecies rotundifolia or ballota, maybe it is the holly oak in plain english and the bushes of the same otherwise called  chaparras, here in ht eprovince of avila  in the parish of the village Solo Sanchez, the oaks are kept in the two fashions a pollarded tree hence its special half orange shape and in bush form.  agri rose macaskie.
chaparrs.jpg
[Thumbnail for chaparrs.jpg]
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
rose i am at 37 degrees here in california. the photos i see you posting often look almost exactly like the terrain here.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
California is meant to be like the mediterean. There is some bit of Australia that is too and some part of South Africa, though i don't expect the temperature to be 37 degrees till June, so it seems you have it worse than us.
  The Spanards took cow boys to north america and probably their habit of haivng oaks in feilds you have the name chaparral these bushes in the photo are chaparras, i have seen the name chaparal place of chapaaaras in cowboy films and the name encina still exists in north america the name for the evergreen oak here and the cloths that the kkk wear are the same as the penitents wore here centuries ago at a ceremony of the inquisitions for gettign rid of jews, the pointed hat covered face type wear is what i  am refering to.  i Think the kkks is an inquisition hang over the church wanted to have slaves, they reckoned it gave them an opportunnity to convert more souls but they were afraid that the new souls would have some pagan memories that woudl pollute christianity, so they blackened them to keep them from polluting other parts of society that were purely catholic. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
     I should say that when they pollard oaks to keep the acorns with in reach of the beater, and to better the crop of acorns and to get  firewood, The trees are prunned to have two to six main arms, branches that grow of trhe main arms of the tree are cut for fire wood periodically. Pollarding the tree also lessens the shade it castes on pastures. Leaving a sprig at the end of the branch assures you don't kill it when you pollard it.
      They also say pollarding the tree keeps it healthy and cuts out shady spots that insects lilke to nest in.
       If you cut the water vessels of a tree they empty, you cause a embolia the water in the tubes is stretched between leaf and root, cutting the vessel even hitting the tree can be like cutting or snaping a stretched elastic band, which makes it crumple up. Roland ennos , "Trees" agri rose macaskie.
pollarded oak.jpg
[Thumbnail for pollarded oak.jpg]
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've read all of your recommendations! wow! This is definitely getting me thinking. I was considering if not lawn fabric then doing container gardening. only problem with that is making the containers look like I didn't just randomly toss pots in my lawn. I was considering doing raised beds but I have no good sources of organic compost/soil i can buy that isn't miracle gro, and I just don't have the money for that.

I was thinking about using some soil on the side of my garage as there is too much of it there which is causing my garage to flood. So use that soil to fill in the raised beds or pots? add stuff to amend it? I know my soil is very low in humus and a tad clay like. I'm thinking of getting it tested so I actually know what MY soil is like and not what is the usual for my area.

I'm not similar with the term lasagna gardening.. but i do have a single raised bed in my back yard which I used both newspaper and a couple cardboard boxes to line the bottom. o_o that bed isn't doing so well. I used an organic compost that smelled sort of like poop and had very large chucks of wood in it.. needless to say. it was a waste of money because the tiny garden in my normal soil next to that raised bed grew much bigger and healthier plants. But I also planted some tomatoes in pots using a mix of my own soil and organic miracle gro potting soil on 2 of them and the other 4 in just my own soil. The miracle gro/my soil tomato plants are twice the size. but then again the bag says it will feed up to 2 months.. i think that means they fertilized the soil before hand so it is a bit like saying fertilized vs. non.fertilized.. I don't know what to do exactly.. I'm not that interested in buying a lot of miracle gro because I don't like their old chemie ways which is why i tried the only other type of organic compost I could get my hands on. besides. miracle gro is a bit outside my price range and comfort zone.

I'm also wondering what type of lawn fabric was used that didn't work? there are alot of different strengths for sell with warranties of 3 to 25 years, weed free. o_o
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would get rid of some of the oaks. Maybe fill in under the thinned oaks with some shrubs or other small trees if you want to maintain screening from the neighbors. Can you grow yaupon there? Or something similar.

Also, have you considered putting a low deck on the ground, then building planting boxes on top of the deck.
 
Ardilla Esch
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you don't have good sources of compost near you, the best option may be to make it.  You may be able to get grass clippings, leaves, etc, from your neighbors...

As others have mentioned, being in the partial shade of the oaks will be good for many plants.  I have noticed that books and catalogs will say particular plants like full sun, only to find out that full sun here in the savanah is too much for them. Some plants really do want full sun, but many thrive in partial shade when you are in a hot, sunny place.
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
nods nods. I was considering this! I'm thinking about making my own compost. Especially considering I'm a raw foodist and I probably make more veggie scraps alone then the average family of 4. I'm seriously thinking about composting. Currently I've been dumping my veggie scraps under the couple of fruit trees I do own. My pomegranate is blooming like it did years ago and the orange tree looks much better then in the past but it still has some yellowing to the leaves but not as much as it use to. I'm sure I can find some really good threads on here about composting. ==
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In your climate, trench composting might work really well. Dig a narrow trench, about 12-18" deep, and however long you want, where you want to improve the soil. Starting at one end, fill the trench with kitchen waste, and maybe shredded paper if you have it, and cover with dirt. Soil organisms will do the work for you.
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hrmm, i can see the working in most places i want to improve the soil but would it disturb the roots of my fruit trees maybe? o_o
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As long as the trench didn't circle the trees, I doubt it would hurt them - and probably not even then. But if you're worried, you could just blend the waste into a slurry and either pour it directly around your trees, or dig shallow "cat holes" and pour the slurry in.

Whatever you do, don't let those kitchen by-products go to waste! In your warm climate, soil organisms are going to be active pretty much year-round, and if you feed them, they'll do a tremendous amount of soil-improvement for you.
 
                                      
Posts: 11
Location: Zone 9a, Kingsville, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
slurries sounds like fun. i was already watering my plants with the rinse water from my green smoothies! ==
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's also possible to move finished compost, e.g. from potato beds that you are planting onto the surface above your tree roots.
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I lived in Fort Myers, Florida I had some tree size bushes that suckered badly all over the front yard. I mowed them down and then I covered them with the strongest landscape fabric I could find. Covered that with about 4 inches of pine bark mulch. A few of them came back up through the mulch and fabric, but not all of them.  In some cases when a sucker came up I could see the fabric starting to push up and I would go stomp on the sucker and then push the mulch back over the bump. I just kept cutting down or stomping the ones that kept coming up. After a few months I planted some smaller bushes and perennial flowers and the big plants pretty much stopped suckering. I sold the house soon after that so I don't know how long this solution held up. It was pretty expensive to buy all that pine bark, but since I was putting the house on the market ...

The term "chaparral" in the Western US means the bushes that naturally grow in a low rounded shape similar to the little rounded oaks in the picture. It is also used for all the plants that grow in that kind of hot dry area. I grew up in Los Angeles and in the mountains there it is not unusual for the east and north side of a ridge to have pine and fir forest and the south or west side of the same ridge will have chaparral.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know you have the term chaparral in america i have seen it on cowboy films. Did you know it came from Spain? I didnot know that it still meant a bush shaped tree though interesting. THe word chaparral must have come from Spain there where Spaniards in North America thats why you have towns called things like Las Amgeles and Encina and here encina means a a full grown evergreen oak here. rose.
 
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, Rose, I grew up in Los Angeles so I understand a good deal of spoken Spanish. There are very many place names there that are Spanish. Los Angeles for example is short for "el pueblo de nuestra dama reina de los angeles" or in English "town of our lady queen of the angels." I'm sure your suggested derivation of "chaparral" is correct. The part of Spain where you are looks very much like the part of California I'm from.
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Necrowitch - I, too am interested in growing stuff under a live oak, although I think my live oak is a bit different from yours. I have a large oak tree in my front yard and the grass is not happy there. I don't have the suckering problem you are talking about but I have a lot of seedlings coming up from the acorns. I want to plant some shrubs and perennials there and stop mowing the area. My current yard guy insists on raking up the leaves in the fall and he takes away the grass cuttings.  At least last fall I got him to put all the leaves on my compost pile.

I got a book called "Southern Shade" which is pretty good although slim. The author is a conventional landscape architect but he includes quite a few native plants and suggests plants that go together based on their growing needs. Here are some plants he suggests for growing under a live oak that may also do well for you in Texas:
Kerria japonica  yellow flowered deciduous shrub
daffodil
Beautyberry Callicarpa americana deciduous shrub berries edible loved by birds in winter wants a little more sun than Kerria
mondo grass
Bluestar Amsonia tabernaemontana  blue flowered perennial to 4 feet wide and tall wants anything from all day dappled shade to half day sun
Spanish bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica  little bulbs - soil must drain well but can be dry and poor
Dead nettle Lamium maculatum evergreen groundcover soil not wet or compacted

Most of these plants spread pretty aggressively so they might out compete your oak suckers. Don't know for sure, just a thought.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
ii suppose that it a question of looking up each individual oak the people who are used to them will know all about them.
  Deep rooted plants do bring up water from the depth of the earth to supplyy thier shallow roots when these have negative root pressure which means when the ground is so dry that the roots start to loose moisture rather than picking it up so they should keep the ground damp for longer in summer.
cooper beaches fallen leaves have a substance in them that is im0peds the growth of other  plants so may be that is why gardeners take leaves off their lawns they want lawn and they would not have it under the trees if the leaves stayed maybe they would you get grass under mediterenean oaks in Spain.
  THe villagers take away th soil under the mediterenean oaks for their vegetable gardens. 
 
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oak trees grow in many climates. Here where I live now on the Atlantic coast of the US is about the same distance from the equator as Los Angeles where I grew up, but the climate is very different. We have a wet summer with thunderstorms often in the afternoon and a drier winter. The ground never freezes but we get frosts and this last winter we actually had a sprinkling of snow (rare). Summer temperatures are upper 90's to low 100's (F) and the humidity is 60% and up. I think we get about 50 inches of rain a year, although the last few years have been drier than normal to drought conditions. Weather conditions can change hourly. The heat and humidity tolerance of plants is more important here than cold tolerance.

Los Angeles gets 6 to 12 inches of rain a year and it comes in the winter with slow soaking rain for days. Humidity runs around 30% or less. Winter temperatures are similar to here unless you are in the mountains where snow falls. Summer high temperatures depend on how close to the ocean you are. On the beach can be 70 degrees F and cloudy or even foggy and inland in the valleys on the same day could be 110 F and clear. Weather changes slowly and conditions can remain the same for days.

Live oaks live in both climates but the problems of gardening under them can be different. Here we need plants that can take a lot of humidity in the summer without getting fungus diseases. The roots of the oak are very shallow and in many places are above the ground. Let me show you some pictures of my yard. Here is my front yard with oak tree, then the area under the tree showing surface roots and palmettos which are small native palms. There are also dying azaleas (not enough moisture and maybe too alkaline soil), liriope and volunteer berry bushes of some kind. I also have some hollies that want to be trees (right up against the house, of course), sasanquah camellias and male junipers that I'm very allergic to. The front is the north side of the house. Also on this side of the house, not under the oak, I have another overgrown holly and a bunch of overgrown viburnum (I think). These all came with the house and they are all coming out. I want to regrade the yard so runoff from the roof goes away from the house then stops in a little dip and soaks in. Right now the driveway is flooded after a rain and the side of the garage that is next to the yard is usually damp. I want to replace the grass with groundcover, some shrubs and perennials so I can stop mowing. The leaves from the oak will be good fertilizer if left in place. The soil tends to be very slightly alkaline so the acidity of the oak leaves shouldn't be a problem. This may be another reason why the people in Spain use soil from under an oak tree for vegetables. Because it is dry there the soil probably tends towards alkaline and the soil from the oak would make the pH better for vegetables.
0621000804.jpg
[Thumbnail for 0621000804.jpg]
downsized_0621000809.jpg
[Thumbnail for downsized_0621000809.jpg]
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic