Landscaping Ideas under Pine Trees
Image by Ilona Ilyés from Pixabay

Landscaping Ideas under Pine Trees

Falling pine needles please acid-loving plants.

Backyard pine trees offer year-round shade and privacy, as well as the clean, wholesome smell of needles. Landscaping beneath pines involves two central challenges. First, evergreen trees create a perpetual shade that many garden plants cannot tolerate. Second, falling pine needles mix with the soil beneath the trees, making it acidic. The challenge for the gardener is to select plants that prefer a shady location and thrive on acid soil. The selection of such plants is greater than you may think.

Rake well under the pine trees, removing small rocks and pieces of wood as well as fallen evergreen needles. Cut or dig out any weeds or brambles growing in the area. Inspect the area and determine the mix of short, lawn-like greenery, flowers and taller bushes you prefer in the landscaping.

Plant a ground cover such as California strawberries (Frageria Californica) for a carpet of short greenery approximating a lawn. These native, drought-resistant plants produce excellent berries and thrive under pine trees. Alternatively, plant Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii) for a dense, low carpet of itch-free foliage. Both of these plants grow well in Mediterranean climates.

Add greenery plus flowers under your pine trees. For example, Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) foliage creates a feathery lawn all year long and in summer, white flowers that please butterflies. Yarrow can grow under a dense pine canopy and requires little if any maintenance in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 though 9. Alternatively, plant azaleas (genus Rhododendron), which grow most vigorously in moderate, filtered shade and acidic soil. Some varieties, such as Herbert Azalea (Azalea x “Herbert”) grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 though 9.