Planting Under Oaks

Asked October 30, 2015, 9:49 PM EDT

I've been asked to plant some ground cover under oak trees in Potomac, under oak trees. (shady), and faces north. The area is over run with deer. I am looking at sedge. Do you think that would work? Do you have some other suggestions?

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

3 Responses

This is dry shade and is always challenging--especially when you throw in the deer factor.

Good natives that can take these conditions would be: native ferns, especially hay scented, Christmas fern and sensitive fern (you can grow an assortment. Stay away from Japanese painted fern, which, obviously is not native, but can also start showing up all over the place), alleghany pachysandran, and Canadian ginger.

Other possibilities: helleborus and epimedium.

Never plant English ivy, which is invasive and extremely damaging to natural/park areas. (How to kill it is one of our most common questions.)

Both Japanese pachysandra and periwinkle are not native and can be invasive, so are not recommended anywhere near native areas. Native plants would be our highest recommendation.


What a perfect answer. I hope others could benefit. Thank you so mach - ferns it will be.