This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
There is no more frequent question than how to have good lawns under trees. Grass requires food and moisture. Trees take the food and dry the ground. It is a difficult problem how to get grass to grow under these circumstances. The best grasses for these places is Poa compressa, the flat-stemmed Poa; and the sheep-fesque, Festuca ovina. The drying out by the roots of the trees can scarcely be prevented ; but a good top dressing of manure or compost should be given the grass under trees every autumn.
Then it is often asked, What evergreens do best under trees - especially evergreens for hedges? Of the coniferae there is none that likes to be dry and shaded. The American yew is, perhaps, as little injured as any. It is best to employ deciduous plants where we must have growth under large trees. The different kinds of Privet do pretty well. The old-fashioned burning-bushes - varieties of Euonymus, and the Tartarian and Fly Honeysuckles do well. The Hardy Hydrangeas and Viburnums also do fairly well in dry shade.
The experience of the last few summers has made much change in the popular ideas of the best time for planting trees and shrubs. The teaching of the Gardener's Monthly has always been that the chances of success are about equal at either season. If a favorable winter follows the fall, or a favorable summer follows the spring, either season is pronounced the best; when an unfavorable season follows, people say they will never plant at that time again. It is the cold drying winds of winter, or the hot drying winds of summer, and not the season of planting which decides. The last two summers have been dreadfully trying to spring-planted trees, while the very best success has been with those of the fall planting. It is remarkable that all the old theories of the best time for pruning were at length resolved into "Prune when you are ready," and it will have to be that the best time for planting is when you are ready to plant. Get trees with good roots, those which have been several times transplanted, if you can ; get thrifty and not half starved trees from poor soil; do not let the roots dry before planting ; prune the tops of the trees a little, and hammer the earth well in when planting, and we can afford to let the "the best season for planting?" rest with the village debating societies.
Lilies, Hyacinths, Tulips - indeed all the hardy kinds of bulbs should be planted or replanted at this season. Herbaceous plants also do a great deal better transplanted in fall, provided means be taken to keep them from being drawn out by frost. In spite of all care, herbaceous plants will sometimes die out, and it will be a good precaution to save a few seeds and sow sometimes, of the scarcer kinds.