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Old 07-17-2011, 02:33 AM   #1
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Landscaping under pines

My mother has seven very large pine trees that line the road in front of her property. I don't know the type of all of them but I know at least two are blue spruce. We would like to do something with the area under them that has no grass.

My mother insists that grass will grow, I just need to plant it, but my opinion tends to differ. Having been a chemistry major, I know that falling pine needles create acidic soil conditions. Certainly, if the pH of the soil were balanced, that would help the cause. However, that would require constant lime application I'd imagine. Not low maintenance at all.

Additionally, the area is approximately 125 feet in length and does have seven large pines. I'm sure the root system is extensive and competition for water in the soil would be a concern for many plants.

She lives in Virginia and the soil is mildly clay based to put it lightly.

What other options are there out there? She needs something low maintenance as her age increases.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:13 AM   #2
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I have centipede grass and it does well around pines. It is very drought resistant, but only grows in certain areas due to the need for heat. Basically, it's a pretty weed, vine-like in its structure.

However, pine needles can choke it out. The pines in my yard drop one heck of a lot of needles and wipe out whole areas of grass unless I keep it clear. That is maintenance itself that can be a pain. I use my lawn tractor and just keep pushing it back into the area I want to be without grass when I cut.

It also goes dormant when temperatures approach 50 deg. So, from about October to April, it's brown.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:24 AM   #3
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The lack of sunshine and the acidic soil are the main enemies of grass, under pine trees.

In our back yard, there are several things we did around our 3 big pine trees:

First, I trimmed the trees up as far as I could reach with my pole saw - about 15 feet high. This allowed air and a little sunshine into the area.

Second, we planted flowers and mulched around part of it. Hostas, lilies, mums & some other perennials my wife likes. We get a pickup load of red mulch & refresh it each spring.

Third, I spread a LOT of lime in the area, seeded the right grass seed, and watered like crazy. We finally got a pretty good stand going.
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