Gardening Under Shade Trees
If the soil under the tree is dry and root-clogged to the point where you have difficulty digging a hole, you may have to improve the soil before you can plant. A layer of organic material several inches deep is the best remedy. The tree will provide you with an abundance of organic material in the form of leaves. Chop them to the size of fifty-cent pieces with a bagging lawn mower and spread them under the tree. Sprinkle them with compost activator and keep them moist. Repeat this procedure annually until the leaves have rotted into a deep humus. Earthworms will move in and loosen the subsoil, making it possible to plant the shade garden of your dreams.
If you’re in a hurry to create your shade garden, fill your bed with container plants while you build your soil.