under the spreading catalpa tree

nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

Catalpas seem to have very thick surface roots. Mine is now about 18years from seed and I've avoided digging under it. The soil is quite stiff and poorly drained and the surface is becoming mossy and small plants underneath are struggling. Would a good, but not too deep, digging, removal of a lot of the other stuff and then a mulch be a good idea or would the root damage be too much for the tree to survive?

I see a little cyclamen, possibly cilicium disappearing under moss, I know there's a paeony or 2, lots of digitalis lutea, and other odds and sods. Messy is the word that springs to mind. It needs attention.


  • Catalpas cast a very dark shade, so the prospects for anything trying to grow under it are not good. I'd just much it with either soil or chipped wood.

  • ThaiGerThaiGer Posts: 165


    Hello nutcutlet, this one I saw in a Chiang Mai-Park- a 15! years oldimagetree. The gardener tell me that Indian Bean is "indestructible", robust and irrepressible! Butis a "pest" in home-garden because of fallen blossoms, leafs and so on...I think you must "clean" arround the stem everytime-the roots need oxygen to muchimage. But best luck with the Shadow Tree (or with cleaning?image), ThaiGer.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

    I think you're both right. How much damage am I likely to do removing the other stuff. The biggest is a 5 (ish) year old tree paeony. Most of the plants in this bed are left over from it being a nursery bed at one time. I would never have planted a catalpa there to stay, far too close to the shed. But it did stay, along with its neighbours.

  • Paul NPaul N Posts: 222



    We also have a catalpa in our garden.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

    t's a lovely thing when it has a good year but we are on the dry side most years. Those big leaves need a lot of water to keep them looking good. 

    Mine is 18 or so years from seed, we've had flowers for several years and it would be nice to see a pod soon. 

  • ThaiGerThaiGer Posts: 165

    ...the spring will coming...sure!image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

    I hope so ThaiGer

  • ThaiGerThaiGer Posts: 165

    Yab, "The Hope Die At Least" we say in Germany. Think,everybody wait for the spring in Old Europe, sad about the long "grey time". The Spring-awake is the Soul-awake too! Have a nice day, ThaiGer.

  • nutcutlet,

    The simple question is: do you really want this tree, which will only get bigger, or would you really prefer some other things in its place? I think sometimes we get mesmerised by some plant that turns out to be inappropriate to the location, and we're too sentimental to get rid of it and have something that we really want. Would you be much happier with tree peonies and other interesting, decorative and smaller plants?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

    I'd get rid of it Joe but OH likes it. Not sure why, usually looks naff at some point during the summer. Should have moved it when it was about 3 years old, not short of room for it, just not there. 

  • Get rid of OH first, nutsy.image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,060

    Thats a thought

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