Needles underneath Evergreen Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Lakewood, Co
Question by pmavna
April 16, 2010
I have an older evergreen tree and the former owners never cleaned up the needles from the ground. so I am sifting through the rocks. Do you have any ideas about how to landscape underneath to keep it clean? thanks.


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Answer from NGA
April 16, 2010

0

As a matter of fact, the duff beneath your evergreen is actually healthy for the tree. It's difficult to get anything to grow beneath a conifer. The canopy keeps rainwater from penetrating the soil beneath the tree and the shallow roots of the tree will compete for moisture and nutrients with anything you try to grow there. Couple that with the acidic soil due to the decomposing needles and you'll discover it's really difficult to get much of anything to thrive beneath a conifer. Some exceptions might be a groundcover tolerant of dry shade. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
(Kinnikinnick) grows 4-6" has pink flowers in the spring and red berries in the fall. This is a native plant and is evergreen. Euonymus fortunei ?Coloratus? (Wintercreeper) grows 12-18" with glossy dark green leaves that turn purple in the winter. Mahonia repens, or Creeping Oregon grape, grows 6-18" with yellow flowers in the spring. It's an evergreen with holly like foliage that turns reddish in the fall. This, too, is a native plant. A final suggestion is Vinca minor (Periwinkle), and evergreen with white or purple flowers and dark glossy green leaves.

Best wishes with your landscape.

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