Ground Covers Under Pine Trees

The pine tree is one of the most popular trees in North America. It grows fast and can live up to 80 years, but they are susceptible to a disease called white pine blister rust. Colonies develop on their leaves as small orange or yellow spots that gradually turn brown then black with age. These spots cause loss of foliage, reduced photosynthesis and premature death for the tree if left untreated. If you see these symptoms anywhere near your property it’s time to remove all infected plants from around what will become your new home site so there are no more chances for this fungus
to spread

The “best ground cover under pine trees” is a topic that I am not familiar with. However, the article does mention some great ideas for landscaping under pine trees.

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If you have pine trees in your yard, you may notice that the ground underneath them is largely barren, with just a mound of pine needles and nothing else. Because of the acidity in the tree roots and the persistent shadow, most grasses will not thrive beneath pine trees. If you’re like us and want to add some color to that barren pine tree, this article will explain what ground coverings will thrive beneath pine trees.

Ground covers provide depth and color to difficult-to-grow spots in your yard, such as beneath pine trees. Many of them may produce brightly colored blooms. Ground covers are large, colorful plants with a lot of personality. The following ground cover samples are likely to please everyone who sees them.

If ground coverings aren’t your first option, we’ll go through a couple grass species that will grow well beneath pine trees.


Contents Table of Contents

  • What kind of ground covers do well under pine trees?
  • Will Grass Grow Around the Pine Tree in the Shade?
  • What pH Level Should Acidic Soil Have?
  • Conclusion


What kind of ground covers do well under pine trees?



Bugleweed is an evergreen perennial with purple flowers, however some variants come in white and pink. It is a creeping perennial with 6 inch tall blossoms in the spring. It may be found in hardiness zones 4 through 10. Because it is of the mint family, it may easily spread into unwelcome regions, so use a landscaping border to keep it in check.

Sweet woodruff is a kind of woodruff that grows in


Yes, it’s listed under plants that grow beneath pine trees, and since it’s little, it may be planted as either. It has aromatic dark green foliage and white star-shaped flowers in the spring. This creeping ground cover prefers damp soil and thrives in zones 5 through 9.

Ginger in its natural state


Ginger in its natural state creeping ground cover is dense green with heart-shaped leaves with a hidden red bloom found in May to June. It grows well in hardiness zones 3-8. Native Americans used the root to flavor foods, due to the ginger like smell from the leaves.



It grows to be approximately 6 inches tall in the spring, with white blooms. It’s a perennial and an evergreen, although it spreads more slowly than some of the other ground coverings described. It thrives in hardiness zones 5 through 9.




Lady fern is one example of this. It grows between 18 and 24 inches tall and has needle-like leaves that point upward. They are deciduous and thrive in hardiness zones 3–8, however there are a variety of ferns that thrive in far warmer climates.



A deciduous shrub with a limited growth rate. It’s a dogwood variety that appears like a blossom on a dogwood tree in the spring and summer, followed by red berries in the autumn. It grows to a height of 6-12 inches and prefers colder regions such as hardiness zones 2-7.



Hosta comes in a variety of shapes and hues. They grow slowly and don’t intrude on other plants, making them an excellent ground cover beneath pine trees. Hardiness zones 3–9 are ideal for most hosta types.

Phlox creeping


It has scented clusters and five-petaled blooms that are approximately an inch wide when they bloom in the spring. This 6 inch tall ground cover has blooms that are blue, purple, red, pink, or white, making it one of the most vivid ground coverings available. It thrives in hardiness zones 3 through 9.

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Will Grass Grow Around the Pine Tree in the Shade?

The beautiful cone form of pine trees is well-known. In a well-kept garden or landscape, they appear stunning. Many people believe that you can’t grow grass beneath a pine tree, which is basically accurate unless you choose the appropriate grass. The following grasses to grow beneath pines, depending on your climate:

Grasses for colder zones in the spring, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 degrees:

  • Fescue is a common landscaping grass that likes to be in the shade and doesn’t need to be mowed.
  • Rough Blue Grass — This grass thrives in the shade and is a hardy plant.
  • Perennial Rye Grass — This grass grows well in the shade, but prefers filtered rather than full shade.

Grasses for warmer climates with spring temperatures of 80 degrees or higher:

  • Zoysia – This thick grass may be used in shaded locations.
  • St. Augustine Grass – One of the most shade tolerant and dense grasses.
  • Centipede Grass – This grass creeps as it develops and may be grown in the shade or in the sun.

As you can see, there are a variety of grasses that will thrive.

What pH Level Should Acidic Soil Have?

Consider how the pine tree impacts the soil and area immediately under it before choosing which plants, ground coverings, or grass to place beneath it. Knowing what circumstances the plant will be exposed to will help you to devise a strategy and choose the appropriate plant or ground cover for the job.

The tree roots are responsible for the soil’s acidity. Under pine trees, the pH of the earth is 4.5–5.0. When pine needles fall to the ground, they have a pH of 3.2–3.8. The needles won’t change the pH of the soil; instead, they’ll act as mulch and assist preserve moisture around the plants. 

Because the pine tree branches prevent water from reaching the ground, the ground is usually dry underneath them. Because of the dryness, you’ll have to water your plants often or set up a drip irrigation system. You might also use peat moss around the plants to assist them retain moisture. 

When checking acidity levels, if you suspect the soil is still excessively acidic, which would be below 4.5 pH, attempt the following:

  • Toss in some limestone powder into the soil. Apply 25 pounds of lime per 1000 square feet of space. Plant something beneath the pine tree a year before you do this.
  • Remove the acidic soil and replace it with fresh, clean topsoil. Take care not to damage the pine tree’s roots. 

The acidity of the soil is an important consideration that will influence the health of your tree and the plants you choose to grow there. Now that the soil is ready, it’s time to pick your plants. /cover the ground


As we’ve seen, several ground coverings and a few grass species can flourish beneath pine trees. You can locate the perfect plants or ground coverings for your landscape with a little research and creativity. 

We teach you how to landscape around other trees with exposed roots if you have them.


The “neutralize soil under pine trees” is a process that homeowners can use to remove the ground cover from their pine tree’s roots. The process is simple and does not require any complicated tools or chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

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