The Q&A Archives: Companion Plants for Pines

Question: I have a very old pine tree in my backyard, so there is alot of shade. Will the pine "poison" plants that I plant there, like a black walnut would? It is very shady, what can I plant? Thanks. Susan Davis-Martin Waukesha WI

Answer: Pine trees don't affect on plants the way black walnuts do, but the soil they thrive in tends to be acidic. If you want to grow annuals, planters filled with multi-colored impatiens will do well there. If you are interested in a perennial groudcover, try Gaultheria shallon, which features pale pink chains of blossoms followed by purple berries. Irish Ivy (Hedera hibernica) is another groundcover option. The Gautheria is available through Eastern Plant Specialties, Box 226, Georgetown, ME 04548;ph#207-371-2888. The Hedera hibernica can be found at Merry Gardens, P.O. Box 595, Camden, ME 04843; ph#207-236-9064.

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