One of the most asked questions on my website is, "How do I grow a lawn under the shade of my big tree."  And my response often is to ask: why?  Growing a lawn under a large tree is generally not impossible but it is hard to do and requires maintenance on a regular basis.  

Much better, in my opinion, to let nature show you the way with ground covers that are hardy in your area and adapt at competing for moisture and nutrition at the root zone of a tree.  Here are some of my favourites:

  • Vinca Periwinkle.  This low growing ground hugger features glossy leaves in abundance and a sky blue flower in May or early June.  Plant about 20 cm. apart and let them grow together until they have knitted a tight green carpet beneath your trees.
  • Pachysandra.  Sometimes called Japanese Spurge, this is an evergreen that takes a beating.  I planted in my last yard and our medium sized dog could not hurt it in spite of her running through it year round.   Hardy to zone 5 [Barrie].
  • Lamium.  Or Dead Nettle.  Don't let the common name of this hardy, colourful ground cover colour your opinion of it.  variegated foliage, bright late spring flowers of pink, purple or white. There are over 60 varieties of Lamium on the market - shop around and go nuts.  

For more information on shade loving ground covers go to