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Question

Connie from Iowa Asks
I am trying to figure out what plants, if any, will grow beneath and around our 3 rows of pine trees. I'm trying to find an alternative to the goats and sheep that my husband keeps telling me we're going to turn loose on that part of our yard to keep the mowing costs down (it's about 500 feet long by 40 feet wide). I really don't want goats and sheep grazing in my yard.

Is there a creeping plant that will grow in a place like that? Maybe creeping sedum or something along those lines that we wouldn't have to mow. Even small bushes would be excellent as they would help as a wind break. These pines don't have branches that come all the way to the ground like our spruce trees, and the lower branches get trimmed off as they lose their needles, so there is height beneath them. Between the rows is very shady when the sun isn't directly overhead.

I've heard that nothing will grow under pine trees because the soil is too acidic but the grass grows tall and thick right up to the trees, so I'm hoping this isn't true. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Answer

Jiffymouse Replies
If you were in the south I'd say Carolina Jessamine, Confederate Jasmine, Azaleas, and Dogwoods. There are low growing Azaleas, the dogwoods are lacy and not "view blocking", and the Jessamine and Jasmine are vines.

Now, having said all that, I'd look for a low growing Rhododendron. They are relatives to the Azalea (actually, Azaleas are related to the Rhododendron) and should be fine in the acidic soil.


Dianne from Texas Replies
Hosta, Coral Bells, and Brunnera's; Brunnera's are heart shaped and variegated the produce blue or purple blooms. Jack Frost Brunnera is gorgeous and would be a nice contrast against the coral bells darker leaves.

Don't plant these up against the base of the tree as they need room to spread. It sounds like you have a large area to cover and it will take a few years to spread to that space; maybe some sedum would be fine as an in between, a lot of sedum loves full sun so make sure the kind you get will grow well in shade too!


Carol from Illinois Replies
I think some ivy or Ajuga would be nice; it would spread nicely and will be close to the ground which will give a nice green look to the ground.
Posted on May 13th, 2014
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