The Q&A Archives: Poor grass under Norway Pine

Question: I have a lake cabin in a stand of Norway Pine. I can not get the grass to grow very well It is poor and thin. I rake up the pine cones & pine nettle. What can I put on my lawn to make the grass grow?? Thanks for any help. Tom

Answer: The soil beneath pines tends to be on the acidic end of the pH scale because of the needles they drop. Another problem associated with growing plants under pines is that the trees have fibrous roots near the soil surface which will compete with any other plant for moisture and nutrients. Additionally, the canopy of pines effectively divert rainwater so things are usually pretty dry directly under the trees. Now that you have a little background information on why it's so difficult to grow plants under pines, you're better equipped to make the right plant choices. Look for plants that grow well in acidic soils, have shallow roots, grow in partially shady locations, and don't mind dry conditions. Some low maintenance suggestions inlcude native plants such as wild ginger, wintergreen, and bearberry. These plants will adapt to growing beneath your trees and once established will need minimal care - perfect for a lake cabin landscape.

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