The Q&A Archives: Planting under pine trees

Question: We have a row of 50 foot pine trees which separate our yard from our neighbors, (the 1st 6 feet of trunk do not have branches). Please recommend some bushes, etc. which will grow in this deep shade with acidic soil and act as a privacy screen. We have just planted a few SMALL azaleas there, hoping that thy'll grow.

Thank you!

Answer: Although there are plants that will tolerate shade and even acid soil, the main problem trying to plant beneath pines is that the soil will be very dry due to overhanging trees preventing rain from reaching the ground. It may also be robbed of nutrients by their roots over the years. Azaleas adn rhododendrons might grow if you can keep the soil evenly moist, and if the soil is organic and humusy in addition to being acidic, and if there is no root competition where they are planted. Generally I would tend to suggest a fence, possibly softened with a vine such as Parthenocissus or English ivy, to provide a backdrop for plantings set further away from the trees where roots and overhang are less of a problem. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.

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