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Beneath a pine tree

We have a pine tree in our garden ( a christmas tree planted by the prvious owners) we don't really want to remove it as until the trees we have planted grow it is the only thing of significant hieght in the garden. However the soil beneath it isn't fantastic for planting as it appears to be full of shallow roots. My husband wants to add soil creating a raised bed giving greater planting depth but will this damage the tree is it likes shallow roots? Would Pots be a better option? Also any suggestions what to plant under it?


  • The area beneath any coniferous evergreen provides probably the worst growing conditions ever! - All year round shade, intolerably dry and very acidic!! If you really want to grow anything I would suggest trimming back some of the lower branches to let in even a little light, and digging in some good organic matter. But even then most things will struggle. Rather than providing a list of possibilities, I would suggest you do what I did when confronting exactly the same problem last year and speak to someone at this nursery... they are very helpful, and provide good examples of most of the shade-loving plants that stand a chance. Good Luck! (you'll need it!) (by the way, I did get some things growing under our tree and then the tree suffered severe storm damage and had to come down - and it's so much better now!!)

  • Emi358Emi358 Posts: 2

    We had to raise the canopy so my husband could walk around the area without getting his eye poked out! So it gets some light. Thanks for the website..I'll take a look

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    you wont be able to grow anything under the tree because of the shedding of pine needles leaves the soil acid.I had 12 of these trees and could grow nothing under neath them its different if you have a Christmas tree in a pot but in the soil its only ok if you have space.

  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782

    Emma - can only tell you what I've seen and not what I know - because I know nothing about growing anything under pine trees.  BUT - in a garden near here there is a 15ft pine which was the result of someone leaving a Christmas tree in a pot years ago.  Whenever I pass it around  10ft around it is thick with pine needles and growing in amongst them are a lovely blue Brunnera macrophylia (perennial forget-me-not) which are a at least 2ft high and seem to come up there every year.  Everybody notices them when they walk past and they seem to grow happily there with about an inch thick of pine needles around them.  But maybe the soil is organically brilliant under this particular tree.  They get very little light and the blue looks stunning in quite deep shade under the long low branches of the pine.

  • Whatever the diametre of the base of the foliage on your pine tree is the area covered by the root system. The tree will be taking all nutrients and water from the soil in that area and there will be a thick carpet of dead pine needles to smother any other plants. If you walk in a pine forest you will see very little growing under pine trees other than bracken.

    It is not a good place to try and grow anything, unless you stand containers around the trunk, however, most pot plants need light and sun and pines throw deep shade so it may be better to wait until the tree is removed before trying to use the space it is taking up..

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