What Grows Under Walnut and Oak Trees

“Why won’t anything grow in this particular area of my yard?’’

Among many other questions, we always have to ask is there a Black Walnut providing a canopy in this section of your yard? If so, your nursery professional can show you plants that will tolerate your growing environment. Effects of the tree’s toxicity include: yellowish and brown foliage; stunted, twisted and mutated growth or failure to grow all together. A plant that is susceptible to the toxicity of the tree will usually fail. The area of impact will spread as the tree’s roots and canopy expand.

Because of the confining elements of a Black Walnut, we do not recommend planting them in residential areas. It will limit the other trees and shrubs in the surrounding area. They are much better in a large expanded area where they will not do any harm but can be appreciated and harvested.

For those that already have an existing walnut tree, there is still a nice array of plants to choose from. Some plants on the list are simply from observation of professionals and others have been scientifically proven to be resistant to the chemical the tree produces.

Trees Tolerant to Walnut

1. Most maples except silver maple
2. Eastern Red Cedar
3. Ohio Buckeye
4. Serviceberry
5. River Birch
6. Catalpa
7. Eastern Redbud
8. Flowering Pear
9. Dogwood
10. Staghorn Sumac
11. Hawthorne
12. American Beech
13. Canada Hemlock
14. Honeylocust
15. American Elm
16. Viburnum

Shrubs Tolerant to Walnut

1. Barberry
2. Hazelnut
3. Forsythia
4. Witchhazel
5. Snowball Hydrangea
6. Mockorange
7. Hybrid Azalea
8. Sumac
9. Smooth Sumac
10. Currant
11. Black Raspberry
12. Elderberry

Vegetables Tolerant to Walnut

1. Onion
2. Beets
3. Squash
4. Melons
5. Carrot
6. Parsnips
7. Beans
8. Corn

Fruit Trees Tolerant to Walnut

1. Cherry
2. Plum
3. Peach

Vines Tolerant to Walnut

1. Clematis
2. Virginia Creeper
3. Wisteria

Perennial Flowers Tolerant to Walnut

1. Yarrow
2. Hosta
3. Bugleweed
4. Hollyhock
5. Anemone
6. Morning Glory
7. Jack-in-the-Pulpit Iris
8. Wild Ginger
9. Shasta Daisy
10. Aster
11. Liriope or Lilyturf
12. Astilbe
13. Lobelia
14. Bee Balm
15. Bellflower (Campanula)
16. Daffodil
17. Chrsyanthemum
18. Primrose and Sundrops (Oenothera spp)
19. Cinnamon Fern
20. Phlox
21. Bleeding Heart
22. Jacob’s Ladder
23. Solomon’s Seal
24. Purple Coneflower
25. Lungwort
26. Stonecrop (Sedum
27. Sweet Woodruff
28. Lamb’s Ear
29. Meadowrue
30. Cranesbill Geranium
31. Spiderwort
32. Common Daylily
33. Tulips
34. Coral Bells

Annuals Flowers Tolerant to Walnut

1. Pansies
2. Violet
3. Zinnia
4. Tuberous Begonias

Planting Under Oak and Other Dense Shade Trees

Planting under a dense shade area is not as challenging as it sounds. Most grass has a difficult time as most of the roots on these trees are in the top 6-8 inches of soil. So the fun part begins when you get to make a brand new shade garden under your tree. We recommend raising the bed so the new plants have a layer of soil to draw nutrients from.

Some Shrubs for Shade

1. Boxwoods
2. Yews
3. Rhododendrons
4. Azaleas
5. Hydrangeas (not all).

Some Perennials for Shade

1. Lady’s Mantle
2. Astilbe
3. Ligularia
4. Goatsbeard
5. Brunnera
6. Helleborus
7. Tiarella
8. Lungwort
9. Coral Bells
10. Ferns

Bulbs to Plant in Shade

1. Daffodils
2. Snowdrops
3. Crocus

Ground Covers for Heavy Shade

1. Ajuga or Bugle Weed
2. Silver or Yellow Archangel (Lamium)
3. Wild Ginger and European ginger
4. Pachysandra or Japanese spurge
5. Sweet Woodruff
6. Periwinkle or Vinca Minor