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Replanting shrubs under existing tree

I live in Houston Texas. I have a large Live Oak tree (about 16 years old with a drip line radius of 15 ft) ringed with dwarf-ish "Burford" Holly. I'm tired of the hollies jumping out an biting me and want replace them with a suitable (softer) shrub. I don't want to endanger the Live Oak with the shrub removal and subsequent replanting. What procedures should I follow?

Re: Replanting shrubs under existing tree

You can cut the hollies down to ground level so you don't have to disturb the root zone of the oak. You can cover the stumps with the mulch that should already be covering the root zone. As for planting new shrubs, you will damage some roots. It's unavoidable. The good news is that since you are planting at the drip line, you will only be damaging small absorptive roots, and not larger structural roots. If you should encounter a larger root, make sure to cut it cleanly to help it seal the wound. The tree should recover well from the plantings. Mulch well!

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