I have a large Pinion pine that we trimmed back the lower branches on last fall, The grass is not doing well there due to limited light, could I add a flower bed there instead, and if so what type of plants would do well in my VERY clay soil. Also isnt' there something about not planting flowers over/next to a tree trunk? thanks



Growing flowers under pine trees is usually difficult. I have read different theories of why; some say it's because the needles make the soil underneath too acid. I find this hard to believe here in Utah. Others say it's because pine trees cast too much shade. I find that hard to accept, too. Then there are some saying that pine trees are allelopathic (toxic) to other plants. And some say that the pine tree is too competitive for the water in the soil.

Whatever the reason, it is true that growing plants under pine trees is problematic.

I prefer to see pine trees with branches all the way to the ground; this solves the dilemma!

I have heard some suggestions for plants that will survive under pine trees, but I cannot say for sure they will work for you. They include Vinca major (could become invasive, so beware!), sweet woodruff, azaleas, hostas, and wild strawberries.

Good gardening!


Posted on 2 May 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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