Landscaping/Planting under a pine tree - Knowledgebase Question

Denver, Co
Question by sbk_13_7
June 2, 2010
HELP...I live in Denver and have a small yard which comes with a 250 ft pine tree in the middle of the yard. The ground is uneven, sandy and acidic...but looks like a dirt field. What can I plant/place there. I'd love a mix of deck/flagstone and plants.

Answer from NGA
June 2, 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. Good luck with your landscape!

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