Do you have a pine tree in your yard? If so, you may be wondering if it’s possible to grow grass under the tree. It can be a challenge to landscape underneath pine trees, but not because of what you probably think. Many people believe that pine trees create an acidic soil environment and thus can kill off plants. In this guide, we will see if it is true and we will discuss the best way to grow grass under pine trees and how to keep your grass healthy!
Is It True That Grass Under Pine Trees Do Not Grow Because Of The Acidic Soil That They Create?
If you are trying to grow plants under a pine tree, and it does not grow will keep reading and you will know why.
Many gardeners believe that pine trees and their needles acidify the soil. While it’s true that the soil near pines is often extremely acidic, the pH of the soil was not determined by the tree. White pine (P. strobus) is a common tree species in much of New Hampshire, and it flourishes in areas with acidic, well-drained soil. Pine trees grow in the same areas because of the soil and weather conditions, which are favorable to their growth. They are not, however, creating acidity themselves. A white pine tree with a lot of shallow roots that are casting too much shade will not produce anything beneath it.
Although pine needles are acidic, they do not have the ability to significantly alter the soil pH. To achieve that, a soil acidifier such as sulfur or aluminum sulfate should be used. Decomposing organisms gradually neutralize pine needles as they break down and are absorbed into the soil. As a result, pine needles may be utilized to mulch shrub borders, flower beds, and vegetable gardens without causing any damage. Even a 3-inch layer of pine mulch will not alter the soil acidity enough to measure.
Grow Grass Under Pine Tree: Is It Possible?
So if you have a pine tree on your property and grass does not grow properly, it’s not because of acidic soil (but it’s always good to check) but most likely because of needle accumulation since pine needles form a dense carpet that doesn’t let the light reach the grass. The same thing goes for other needle-dropping trees such as spruce, hemlock, and fir. Also, it might be because of the too much shade that these tree species provide. If you want to grow grass beneath a pine tree, consider grass types that tolerate shade better than most grass species.
As we mentioned above, growing grass under pine tree has nothing to do with the PH level. However, it is always good to test your soil PH Level, and in case you find that you need to amend it use sulfur or aluminum sulfate.
How Often Should You Add Any Amendments?
If you are using a soil amendment to help with the acidic level, you will need to add it every year. The amount that you will need to add will depend on how large your pine tree is and how much acid is being released from the needles. The best is to measure the PH level before adding anything because if the PH is just right, you might make it too alkaline and harm the plants. You can purchase a device to test the pH level of your soil or get it tested at a garden center.
Adding organic matter to the soil is also a good way to help your plants grow healthy and strong. You can add compost, manure, or peat moss to the soil to help improve its texture and fertility.
Grow Grass Under Pine Tree- Take in Mind the Shade
As mentioned above, another thing to keep in mind when growing grass under pine trees is that the tree can cast a shadow, which can limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants. Depending on the grass type that you grow on your lawn, you may want to trim or cut down a few branches from the tree to allow more light to reach the grass.
Should You Remove Pine Needles from Under Tree?
If you want to grow grass under pine tree, consider removing the pine needles from under the tree. Removing the accumulation of pine needles will allow sunlight to be absorbed easily by the grass and thus will not hinder the growth of grass.
Other Landscaping Underneath Pine Trees
Besides growing grass, you can also grow other plants underneath pine trees. You can plant perennials that do ok in shade such as hostas, astilbe, and bleeding hearts. You can also grow shrubs just be sure to choose plants that are ok in shade.
If you prefer not to plant anything, then you can simply mulch the area under the pine tree with bark mulch, leaves, or compost. This will help to keep the soil healthy and will also look nice in your yard.
Other landscaping underneath pine trees, a more permanent option would be to cover the area with river rocks or flagstone. This would be a good option if you don’t want to keep topping up the mulch every now and then. Keep in mind that you will have to place a weeds-resistant cloth underneath the rocks or stones to prevent any weeds from growing.
Overall, growing grass under pine trees can be a challenge not because of what most people think, but with a little bit of understanding and effort, you can create a beautiful landscape that everyone will admire!