Here in Berks County we are blessed with many varieties of oak tree’s, but along with the blessing of a great oak is the challenge of what can be planted with it. Some simply leave the oak to itself and it does fine. But for those who feel the mighty oak needs added dressing here are few ideas. Oak tree’s like dry, light alkaline soil so companion plantings also must enjoy dry conditions along with filtered sun to part shade. Just a quick reminder, annuals look pretty except the water needed to keep them going can invite unwanted problems to the oak tree’s roots, called oak root fungus. To avoid the open invitation plant companion plantings at least 3 feet to 5 feet from the trees trunk. And please don’t add mulch up and around the trunk in the “volcano” fashion which can also invite problems.
A few wonderful companion plantings are hosta, iris, astillbe, bleeding heart, lady’s mantle and one of my favorites heuchera. Heuchera has become a garden must have, there are so many color varieties. This herbaceous perennial can begin flowering late spring thru late summer while still providing winter interest. Birds enjoy it, can be use as a cut flower and its low maintenance factor is a real benefit. Along with being a native in North America, fertilizing can be as easy as an osmocote type slow release fertilizer every 3-4 months. Dividing is advised every few years – or as needed.
In the photo, vinca darts blue, hosta, ornamental grass and Sedum ” golden teardrop” have been used to add interest to a spot near the driveway. The different colors and textures add to the whole look. The sedum spreads quickly, I found it easy to manage. The planting appear closer than they actually are. This area is slightly sloped and gets snow in winter, while in spring and summer dappled sun.
Then again there are times when less is more and looks just the way it should. Let your creativity go when adding to your garden – just remmber : “Right plant – Right place”. Until later, El