Gardening among pines

I have several pines in my back yard. Nothing seems to grow well among them. Is there any secrets about pines and gardening? ph? What plants do well in the pine needles? Can the pine needles be raked occasionally, and kept to a minimum? Are there soil amendments or chemicals that can be added? I am losing space to the pines. Also, the pines provide a lot of shade (duh), so which plants would be pine tolerant AND shade tolerant? Any sites you could provide that might give me info?
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

You have multiple potential problems - some you know about already.
- Big trees have deep and wide roots and suck up water and nutrients at the expense of other plants.
- Fallen leaves, including pine needles, may alter the pH towards the acid side, this may or may not be a bad thing.
- Shade, depending on how deep the shade is this reduces the range plants that will grow there, especially if you want flowers.
- Fallen leaves may form a mat physically inhibiting other plants (this may be good or bad depending on situation)
- Some trees, including some pines, exhibit allelopathy. That is they conduct chemical warfare against other plants by producing substances that inhibit growth or germination of them.
In summary, those pine trees are fighting you in many ways. Some promlems you can deal with, it's a matter of how hard you want to fight. As a first step I would find out what species of pine you have and research the degree of allelopathy that they have to what you want to grow. If they are chemical fighters your only weapon may be a chainsaw as you will not be able to keep the needles off everything else.
David
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SB> I have several pines in my back yard. Nothing seems to grow SB> well among them. Is there any secrets about pines and SB> gardening? ph? What plants do well in the pine needles? Can SB> the pine needles be raked occasionally, and kept to a minimum? SB> Are there soil amendments or chemicals that can be added? I am SB> losing space to the pines. Also, the pines provide a lot of SB> shade (duh), so which plants would be pine tolerant AND shade SB> tolerant? Any sites you could provide that might give me info?
Pine forests are often devoid of any underbrush.
Very little will grow through pine needles.
My advice, thin out the pines, and rake the needles Then you should be able to grow plants appropriate to your area.
--
Dan Espen

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On 2/26/2014 4:01 PM, SteveB wrote:

Depending on your climate and soil structure (neither of which you mentioned), you might be able to grow azaleas and other rhododendrons and also camellias under the pines. They require an acid soil that drains very well, soil that is always moist but never wet. They also prefer shade. Since they prefer a "lean" soil, the fact that the pines are grabbing all nutrients would not be a problem.
You might also grow ferns and Japanese maples. These too do well with shade and acid soil. They might require added nutrients.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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On 2/27/2014 11:18 AM, David E. Ross wrote:

This is my suggestion also, as it is what works for my pines. The azaleas are monsters.
I have an Oak Leaf Hydrangea that is doing very well there also.
They also

This seems right, and would explain the success that I have with them. Thanks.
Jeff

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