Can Grass Grow Under Citrus Trees? Benefits and Challenges Explored

The question of “Can grass grow under citrus trees?” is one that intrigues many garden enthusiasts. Growing grass under citrus trees can be a challenging endeavor, and understanding the factors that affect this growth is essential.

Grass can struggle to grow under citrus trees due to low light, water stress, and competition with tree roots. Alternative ground covers like melons, cucumbers, hostas, and mint can be used instead to protect the soil and add diversity to the garden. Proper planning and maintenance, including mulching and understanding what not to plant near citrus trees, can lead to a thriving garden under and around citrus trees.

Companion planting under citrus trees

Factors Affecting Grass Growth

  • Light: The low light under the tree can hinder grass growth.
  • Water Stress: Citrus trees may absorb much of the available water, leaving the grass thirsty.
  • Nutrient Competition: Tree roots can compete with grass for essential nutrients.

🍋 Citrus Clue: Choosing the right ground cover can enhance soil quality and protect the soil. Consider alternatives to grass for a thriving garden. 🍋

Understanding the Growth of Grass Under Citrus Trees

Challenges of Growing Grass

Growing grass under citrus trees presents several unique challenges that gardeners must be aware of:

  • Low Light: Citrus trees often create a dense canopy, limiting the sunlight that reaches the grass below. This lack of light can hinder grass growth.
  • Water Stress: Citrus trees require a substantial amount of water, which can lead to water stress in the grass, causing it to die or grow poorly.
  • Competition with Tree Roots: The roots of citrus trees can compete with grass for essential nutrients, water, and oxygen, slowing down the growth of the grass.

So, is it OK for grass to grow around fruit trees? While it’s not impossible, the challenges mentioned above make it a less-than-ideal option for many gardeners.

🍊 Citrus Clue: Consider the specific needs of both the citrus trees and the grass to determine if this combination is suitable for your garden. 🍊

Alternative Ground Cover Options

A citrus tree with alternative ground cover

Given the challenges of growing grass under citrus trees, you might be wondering, “What is the best ground cover for citrus?” Here are some alternative ground cover options that can thrive under citrus trees:

  • Melons: These vining plants can provide excellent ground cover and add another food crop to your garden.
  • Cucumbers: Like melons, cucumbers can grow well under citrus trees, providing both cover and harvestable produce.
  • Hostas: These shade-loving plants can add visual appeal and protect the soil.
  • Mint: Mint can grow in various conditions, including under citrus trees, offering a fragrant and useful ground cover.

Practical Advice on Ground Cover and Maintenance

Ground Cover Options

When it comes to orchards, especially those with citrus trees, ground cover plays a vital role. But “What is the best ground cover for orchards?” and “Can I plant ground cover around fruit trees?” are questions that often arise. Let’s explore:

  • Grass: While grass can be used, it’s essential to choose the right type. Bermuda grass, for example, is often considered the best grass for fruit orchards due to its resilience.
  • Other Ground Covers: Plants like clover, vetch, and native ground covers can be excellent alternatives to grass, providing soil protection and enhancing biodiversity.

🍋 Citrus Clue: Experiment with different ground covers to find what works best in your specific climate and soil conditions. 🍋

Soil and Mulching

Mulching around a citrus tree

Mulching and soil protection are key to healthy citrus trees. But “What do you put around citrus trees?” and “What is the best soil for orange and lemon trees?” Let’s delve into these aspects:

  • Mulching: Using organic mulch like straw or wood chips helps retain moisture and protect the soil. And yes, it is OK to put mulch around citrus trees, but avoid piling it against the trunk.
  • Soil: Well-drained, sandy loam soil with a pH between 6 and 7 is often considered ideal for citrus trees.

🍊 Citrus Clue: If you have a space that needs extra privacy or a windbreak, citrus trees can also make a great hedge. 🍊

What Not to Plant and How to Maintain

Understanding “What not to plant near citrus trees” is as crucial as knowing what to plant. Here’s some guidance:

  • Avoid Garden Beds: Planting garden beds around citrus trees can damage their shallow roots and hinder growth.
  • Avoid Covering Exposed Tree Roots: This can reduce oxygen supply to the roots and harm the tree.
  • Maintenance: Regular pruning and proper watering are essential. To stop grass from growing around your tree, consider using a barrier or selective herbicides.

Should you plant under fruit trees? It depends on the tree and the plants, but generally, careful selection and consideration of the tree’s needs are vital.

Exploring Additional Planting Options

Growing Other Plants Under Citrus Trees

Planting under citrus trees is not just limited to ground covers; you can also grow other plants. Let’s explore this exciting possibility:

  • Rhubarb: “Can you grow rhubarb under fruit trees?” Yes, rhubarb can be a great companion plant for citrus trees. It thrives in well-drained soil and partial shade, making it suitable for planting under citrus trees.
  • Other Plants: Herbs like mint and thyme, as well as vegetables like lettuce, can also be grown under citrus trees, adding diversity to your garden.

🍊 Citrus Clue: When planting under citrus trees, ensure that the chosen plants do not compete heavily with the tree for nutrients and water. 🍊

Considerations for Growing Grass Around Tree Roots

“Can I grow grass around tree roots?” This question often arises among garden enthusiasts. While it is possible, there are some challenges to consider:

  • Competition: Grass and tree roots may compete for nutrients, water, and oxygen, which can affect both the grass and the tree.
  • Light: The shade from the tree may hinder grass growth, especially if the grass requires full sun.
  • Soil Compatibility: The soil that suits the tree may not be ideal for the grass, requiring careful selection and possibly soil amendments.

🍋 Citrus Clue: Choose shade-tolerant grass varieties and monitor the water and nutrient levels to ensure a harmonious coexistence between the grass and the tree. 🍋

Citrus tree in a pot


Gardening under citrus trees presents an exciting opportunity to maximize your garden space and add diversity to your landscape. However, it’s not without its challenges and considerations:

  • Grass Growth: While grass can struggle under citrus trees due to low light and competition with tree roots, alternative ground covers like melons, cucumbers, hostas, and mint can thrive.
  • Soil and Mulching: Proper soil protection and mulching are key to maintaining healthy citrus trees and undergrowth.
  • Planting Considerations: Knowing what to plant and what not to plant near citrus trees can make a significant difference in the success of your garden.

The benefits of this approach include soil protection, improved soil quality, and the addition of food crops to the garden. However, careful planning and maintenance are required to avoid potential challenges such as nutrient competition and damage to tree roots.

🍊 Citrus Clue: Experimentation and observation are your best tools. Don’t be afraid to try different plants and ground covers to find what works best in your specific environment. 🍊

Embrace the adventure of gardening under citrus trees, and let your garden flourish with diversity and creativity. Happy gardening!

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