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Why Doesn’t Grass Grow Around Pine Trees?

Pine trees are beautiful, and not just at Christmas. Georgia homeowners love having a few pine trees to tie the landscape together, but we know that most homeowners are also at their wit’s end trying to keep grass growing underneath them. Grass just won’t seem to grow there, leaving homeowners with a muddy brown circle of bare soil. What gives?

There are a number of factors at work. Here’s why grass won’t grow underneath pine trees.

1. Acidic Soil: Unlike grass, pine trees prefer acidic soil. This can make it quite hard to get grass to grow around pines. You can try to balance the soil by raking up the pine needles that have fallen, hoeing the dirt around the tree, and mixing in lime, approximately one 25-pound bag per large pine tree or two small ones. You can also use a rototiller, but be careful of the pine roots!

2. Shade: It’s not just pine trees that kill off grass, it’s all trees—acid or no acid. The shade from the tree makes it hard for a grass blade to grow. Shade-tolerant grasses can typically tough it out, however. Get a high-quality blend of shade-loving grasses, the kind that need only four hours of light per day, and seed the area underneath the tree. When mowing, considering setting your blades about a half-inch to an inch higher, so these grasses have more leaf to absorb the limited sunlight with.

3. Water: People think grass needs less water underneath trees because of the shade, but the opposite is true. They catch less rain and the tree roots drink heavily from the soil. Give the grass under your pine trees extra water every day and you’ll see them green up.

4. Root Competition: As is the case under any large trees, grass can be hard to come by since it’s competing not only for water, but for other essential nutrients. An established pine’s roots absorb substantial amounts of nutrients, leaving the surrounding soil depleted.

So what’s the solution? You can always solve the issue by mulching around your trees. Or contact us and we’ll not only recommend the best treatments for your yard, but we’ll also help you solve these problem areas. Call Arbor-Nomics and get a free lawn analysis today.