The Q&A Archives: Lawns Under Pines

Question: We have a huge pine tree in the front yard and the grass just doesn't seem to grow very well under it. What can we do to encourage the grass to grow?

Answer: Growing lawns under pines is difficult for several reasons. The shade under a pine is quite dense, and the canopy of the pine keeps natural rainfall from reaching the soil. Needles that are shed make a thick mulch that acidifies the soil, and pine roots are shallow so they take up most of the moisture -- lawns and groundcovers just can't compete.

Instead of struggling to get grass to grow under the tree, you might consider placing a bench there so you can enjoy the tree's shade, perhaps surrounded by self-watering pots or planters of shade-loving plants (such as impatiens, caladium, coleus).

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