acid soil - Knowledgebase Question

Willingboro, Ne
Question by Ehooer723
April 19, 2010
I have a large incline in my backyard that have several large pine trees along with a large tree. It is shaded all of the time. My problem is that I don't like the pine needles when they fall, especially when it rains, and I can't maintain a clean, finished look. What can I do for it to look nice all year long.

Answer from NGA
April 19, 2010


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 of the plants that will adjust to these conditions include Variegated Solomon?s Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum ?Variegatum?), Hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), Creeping Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens), Lady?s Mantle ?Thriller? (Alchemilla mollis ?Thriller?), Anaphalis, Antennaria, Artemisia ludoviciana, Aster divaricatus, Bergenia, Brunnera, Campanula carpatica, Corydalis lutea, Eupatorium rugosum, Galium, Geranium maccrorhizum, Helleborus foetidus, Hemerocallis, Heuchera, Iberis, Mertensia, Polygonatum, Pulmonaria, Thalictrum, Vinca minor and Viola. High growing ground covers such as the Vinca will help hide the fallen needles. Good luck with your landscape!

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