Location is Portland, Oregon.
TL;DR I want to plant shrubs and shade tolerant ornamentals under trees in one corner of my lot. The soil is clayey and very compacted, and due to long-term slow erosion the tops of some of the tree roots are partially exposed.
Question: How to amend the soil around the trees to allow planting, is compost or mulch the right way to go? What should I be considering?
One corner of my lot has several trees, as shown here. The triangular area is about 45x55 feet, about 1240sf.
There are two 80-100' tall evergreens that I think are some form of cypress (the large trunks in the middle). The two on the left and right are maples, and then there are the two double trunks that I believe are firs.
That corner of the lot is higher than the rest by maybe 2 feet, and it looks like over the years erosion has exposed quite a few roots. The soil is clayey and very compacted and hard even after rain.
Here are some closeups of the exposed roots.
Question: What needs to be done to the soil to
- protect the exposed roots; and
- make it easier to work the soil to plant other plants