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Problem Solved – Planting Flowers in Heavy Tree Roots

October 24, 2013

Planting seasonal annual color under trees where there are lots of tree roots is a big problem.  In our Ohio landscape (before we moved to Georgia) we had a big River Birch that had extensive tree roots.  Every  time we dug holes to plant annuals we had to cut many tree roots only to have the tree roots grow back to compete with the annuals.  Our solution:  We created permanent “pocket planters” to easily swap-out plants for spring, summer and fall color.

We cut tree roots to place permanent 15 inch containers in the ground.  These planters served as a "pocket" for the smaller 13 inch planted containers.

We cut tree roots to place permanent 15 inch containers in the ground. These planters served as a “pocket” for the smaller 13 inch planted containers.

The smaller insert planters can be filled with seasonal plants that will not suffer tree root competition.

The smaller 13 inch “insert” planters can be filled with seasonal plants that will not suffer tree root competition.

Fall is a great time to hit the garden center to get the containers you will need to create your very own pocket planters under your trees.  You can fill your containers with Mums to provide fall color.  Or you can get this project started now so you will be ready to plant your containers next spring.

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3 Comments
  1. I have just starting reading your helpful tips. Boy, I have really been doing the wrong things.

    My questions to you are when where and how much to water snap (chinese) pea pods? Also, after bulbs have flowered when do I cut them all the way back to the ground?

    Thanks so much

    Ann in Florida

    • Hi Ann in Florida
      I am guessing you are talking about snow pea pods (they go by lots of different names). We have found that you should pick them before the pods are totally filled out. This will trick the plant into growing more pods as it attempts to produce seed in the pods. The more you pick, the more you will get. Do not cut back to the ground until you are finished harvesting all you want.

    • Hi Ann in Florida
      I misunderstood your second question regarding cutting back the foliage after bulbs flower. You should wait until the foliage is turning yellow to cut back. The reason is as long as the foliage is green it is helping to strengthen the bulb so it can flower again next year.

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