Groundcover ideas under 2 huge shady pine trees

Laurens_Flower(6)March 23, 2005

Hi there. I have 2 huge pine trees that I would like to plant something under. Maybe even some different things together. It looks to get full shade during the day and just a hint of sun towards the evening. My questions: 1) There are years of leaves and old pine needles accumulation under the trees, do I clean up all that to clear a bedding area (to get to the dirt)? sounds silly, but had to ask, I'm assuming I do... 2)What combination of groundcovers would work well here. I LOVE varigated foilage...Does anyone have the same planting conditions with pine trees? Thanks so much for your help...I'm ready to get outside and dig in the dirt! :)

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dcarearuthie2(z6-7 DC)

I have the same type of backyard--with the pines, etc. I'm leaning towards pachysandra (sp?) I heard it "thrives" under pines--which make the soil difficult for many plants. I'd love to have some advice on that. I was planning on NOT clearning away pine needles and debris. I figured they acted as a natural mulch and weed deterrent.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 5:05PM
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Thank you for your reply...Yes, I'm wondering though, if I did not clear up a bedding area for a groundcover, would it be able to spread as much and cover the entire area under the pine trees? There must be 10 to 15 years of untouched "stuff" under the trees...

My goal is to eventually cover over or get rid of the ugly looking brown pine needles/old leaves (from tons of cottonwoods around here) and to look at something pretty growing under the pine trees. It is right next to our garage and we see the area everyday...

Let me know what you do...does pachysanda (sp?) come in varigated foilage? Thanks!! :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 5:34PM
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HollyT(z7 NoVA)

Pachysandra does come in a variegated form, but it costs more and grows slower.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 8:20AM
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the striped pachys' hard to find, and it does take its time growing... but you can buy one flat of it for every three or four of the plain, and encourage 'stripes' or 'rings' or just interplant them, and get a nice effect.

Lily of the valley also likes it under pine trees (another acid-loving shade plant) and I haven't had any trouble with the lamium (dead nettle) under my Mil's pine yet- and yes, it's spreading. rather than rake the area, I grubbed holes for them between the roots, then tossed several coffee cans of dirt over the needles, then proper mulch over that.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 10:44AM
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Thank you for the responses...I've been reading on the net and I've heard that a lot of groundcovers have trouble with the acidic conditions created from pine trees.

But the pachys and lily of the valley as stated above do well cuz they like acid conditions. I love lamium dead nettle but would hate to plant it not to do well or come back...

Does anyone know of any other acid loving shade perennials that might do well also? What about any hostas???

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 1:47PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

check out Mahonia repens.
A shady white pine plantation I strolled through recently had an almost entire covering of partridge berry (Mitchellia repens) although none of the leaves appeared through the fallen needles. I assume the new growth this Spring will come out on top of the blanket of rust colored needles. I published pictures in a website linked to my gardenweb home page.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 8:11PM
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mondo grass. I have a ton of it under my pines (and pine needles).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 5:39PM
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We moved to this house five years ago. There was a huge spruce tree on the property. The first spring, my friend gave me about twenty violets and twenty lily of the valley. By the next summer, the violets completely covered the big area under the tree, the lily of the valley did not do as well. I did not clear the tons of needles or pinecones before planting. I just dug a hole and stuck a plant in. Done. The violets bloom each year in the early summer and remain green until winter. The plants completely disappear in the fall and come back up each spring with no effort on my part. You can't see the ground for the violets. One word of caution, you will have to make sure they do not get into your lawn or flowerbeds. They will spread wherever they can.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 2:25PM
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creatrix(z7 VA)

The partridgeberry will do well under pines, and is evergreen. It is a native of the Eastern US, and birds can eat the berries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mitchella Fact Sheet

    Bookmark   April 17, 2005 at 7:27PM
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If you like lamium you'll love lamium beacon silver.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 11:42PM
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I don't think of hosta as a ground cover but planted thick it sure will and grows well under pines.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 8:15PM
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My neighbor has hosta growing under her pines. They do fine. You may want to look for the more vigorous varieties, like guacamole, since they will have to compete with the tree roots. As for the silver edge pachysandra. It took three years to fill in my shade garden but was worth the wait. Epimedium grows slow but work well in dry shade.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 7:40AM
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I cleared out the bottom inside branches of the huge pine (bluish-green, has to be at least 70 years old since it seems to have been planted when my house was built) next to the house I moved into last year, and I was thinking of planting some Hostas and groundcover underneath this spring, but...

...I'm very surprised thou that NO rain actually makes it thru the pine branches onto the ground. The ground is completely "bone" dry even when it rains all day long! The only moisture that I have seen get under the tree is from blown snow during the winter.

So what can I do now? Plant something at the edge and hopes it grows in some? Or just depend on my watering, and wont that effect the pine tree's roots so they grow up in the same spot?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 2:47AM
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Hey i am into Gardens as well well i can Give you a couple of ground covers with Varigated Folage well 1 is Gardenia Radicans, 2) Trachnospermum Tricolour ( something like that ) trhar are both very hardy and varigated type folage i hope they take them where you live

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 4:43AM
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What bout Varigated Liriope

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 4:46AM
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Sweet woodruff thrives under pine trees - it loves the acidic conditions and the mulch the needles provide. It has beautiful foliage and sweet little white flowers in spring. The botanical name is Galium odoratum.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 11:32AM
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