What to do under the oak tree where grass won't grow?

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I'm in Houston and have a large oak tree in the back yard (don't know what kind) under which grass won't grow in an area that mirrors the canopy. I've had it pruned professionally to let in more light and that's allowed some weeds to thrive sparsely (not what I wanted). What can I do to get some coverage (other than asian jasmine because I don't want mice and snakes hanging around)? I've thought about giving up and hauling in some crushed gravel. What are other options?

  7 answers
  • Kat Kat on Jan 04, 2018
    Hello. I live in Katy and know about our beautiful big oak trees. You could loosen the soil in the area the tree canopy covers, put some new soil down and plant monkey grass. If you don't care for monkey grass, Google plants for heavy shade in Houston Tx. You'll get a list of plants that will take the shade and heat we have most of the year.

    • Joffler Joffler on Jan 04, 2018
      I do like monkey grass but I'm thinking I'd have to buy a lot. I did try putting down spider plant because I've planted it in the ground before at a different location and it took off spreading like crazy but it didn't do well at this house. Monkey grass would make a great border for whatever I end up doing, though. Thank you.

  • Kim Kim on Jan 04, 2018
    Have you tried azalea plants? In Florida, most of the large yes in yards have azaleas and or crotons under them. They do beautifully under trees because they do well under shade

    • Joffler Joffler on Jan 04, 2018
      Azalea are great but everybody has them in their front yard around here. But I'm thinking, if I can create a planting area along with a ground cover, some miniature azalea might be nice to include. Thank you.

  • Kim Kim on Jan 04, 2018
    Oops..trees, not "yes". Auto correct :(

  • DesertRose DesertRose on Jan 04, 2018
    Would you consider a small wooden planter and fill it with hostas or some plants that like shade? There is a wide variety of hostas available including variegated ones that really add variety and beauty to a yard. My dearest friend had your problem with her oak trees and that is what we did. It really decorated her front and side yard.

  • Joffler Joffler on Jan 04, 2018
    I love hostas! Have tried putting some in the ground there and they didn't do well. I'm thinking this oak puts out some enzymes at the soil level that doesn't do well. But I admit I hadn't considered planters or even raised beds. Thank you for the idea.

  • Kat Kat on Jan 04, 2018
    You will probably have to amend the soil for anything to live. The big oak sucks up all of the nutrients.
    They sure are beautiful though.