planting under a pine tree - Knowledgebase Question

seatac, Wa
Question by marjoriepurn
June 30, 2010
We have a large pine tree that we want to plant under. The bottom tree limbs have been removed, making abt 15ft high clearance, allowing morning and afternoon sun. We would like to fill in with plants ranging from 6

Answer from NGA
June 30, 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 Artemisia, vinca minor, Heuchera (Coral Bells), Limonium, Evening Primrose (Oenothera), Penstemon, Santolina (Lavender Cotton), Campanula, hosta, impatiens and Ferns of all kinds. Azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias are also good choices. Enjoy your landscape!

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