I am considering planting a ground cover under a thick maple tree………ergo needs be drought resistant……..and have come up with these possibilities…..
* cranesbill (bigroot geranium, bevan’s variety)
* barrenwort (youngirnum)
* deadnettle (lamium)
and what plant spacing would I need for whatever you think best.
As you have suggested, a good ground cover for under a maple tree should be shade and drought tolerant. Maples have shallow or surface roots that interfere with planting and may compete with plants for nutrients. Maple trees not only block sunlight but also deflect rainfall.
You have come up with good choices. Other suggestions include Hostas, Ferns, Epimedium and Vinca Minor (however Vinca Minor/Periwinkle can be very invasive).
Do not add more than 2 – 3 inches of soil as this might damage the trees roots.
Spacing will depend on the trees roots. When you purchase your plants get smaller sized plants so that you may plant them in between the tree’s roots. Try to avoid damaging the roots during planting.
Add compost every year to provide added nutrients and moisture. Rain is deflected by the tree’s canopy, so watering regularly is recommended.
A good reference article can be found at: