ICanGarden Suggestions:

Planting perennials under pine trees

Messages posted to thread:

Miriam30-Jul-08 03:21 AM EST 8   
maggiecuster@yahoo.com30-Jul-08 11:32 AM EST 10   
doug22-Aug-08 03:16 PM EST
cgourlie@hotmail.com02-Sep-08 02:02 AM EST 5b   

Subject: Planting perennials under pine trees
From: Miriam
Zone: 8
Date: 30-Jul-08 03:21 AM EST

(I posted this in the wrong place earlier, so am reposting it as a new post.)

I have 3 big pine trees (50ft/30 yrs old) in our backyard. We just cleared off most of the other evergreens in between them, which had either died or were getting unsightly due to neglect. There is hardly any soil, and what soil is there is very dry (when I water it, the water just sits on top and doesn't penetrate even an inch down!). I would like to plant some perennials and create what I think is like an English "cottagy" type of garden under the trees if that is possible. Is it possible? It's rather shady, with a bit of late morning sun.

What do I do to get the ground ready for planting? Do I put topsoil on? What depth of soil will I need? Do I need to mix that with peat moss?

I've bought a pink hydrangea, white daisy, and a fern. Will these survive?

Thanks in advance for whatever advice you have to offer! I'm rather new to this, and would really like to make it work!

Subject: RE: Planting perennials under pine trees
From: maggiecuster@yahoo.com (maggiecuster@yahoo.com)
Zone: 10
Date: 30-Jul-08 11:32 AM EST

A great general "how to" book on preparing the soil is Back Yard Problem Solver by Jerry Baker, master gardener. I do know ferns like shady areas (a little sun is okay)and grow well in sand with low watering once established. Don't know about hydrangeas or white daisy.

Subject: RE: Planting perennials under pine trees
From: doug
Date: 22-Aug-08 03:16 PM EST

Growing anything under pine trees is difficult. I have a group of Hostas growing under a large Spruce. They like the shade. Pine needles make the soil acidic. You will need to prepare the soil where you plant, with compost, peat moss is good though it adds to acidity, you can mix in a little lime to combat the acidity. Your fern will be OK, though I have found they can be fussy, but the Hydrangea and daisy need LOTs of sun. Begonias do well in shade, you definitely need to lossen and enrich the soil, and plant shade lovers.

Subject: RE: Planting perennials under pine trees
From: cgourlie@hotmail.com (cgourlie@hotmail.com)
Zone: 5b
Date: 02-Sep-08 02:02 AM EST

Hi....Ferns & Hydrangea's both need lots of moisture.....hydrangea's can do well in moist shade I believe but the acidity under pine trees will only give you "blue" flowers.....look for other perennials that enjoy acidity....no sense throwing money away from the get go.....it's pretty difficult to fight against the conditions you have under those pines so might as well try to go with what's already there....these are small shrubs you might want to try as the 3 large pines must be a focal point of your garden and small perenniels will perhaps look a little puny under them .....pierra Japonica (Mountain Fire) or Kerria Japonica Plentiflora, rodo's and azalea all like acid soil, altho usually prefer more moisture too...try Leucothoe (Rainbow)5'x6' it has all season interest - its evergreen/variegated/red stems/colored new growth etc....Viburnum "Witherod" (withstands winds/dry/and takes on shades of orange in fall....holly (get male & female if you want red berries)....Yews.....Crimson Japanese Quince acidic with thorns)....hosta's are hardy shade lovers and take pretty much any kind of soil conditions plus the larger ones can make a "statment" ...and lily of the valley are not only very hardy but they will spread....there is always goutweed for its light green & white variegated leaves but it is invasive.....you can contain it if you use edging below the surface but it is "buyer beware" and depends on your needs.....good luck - nothing is more frustrating that growing under trees of any kind with dense shade & dry soil.....if you can save some of your deciduous leaves over the winter and get some leaf mould ready for next spring - that would be a huge bonus and enrich the nutrient poor soil. Claire

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