How to Plant Grass Under Pine Trees

By Larry Parr

Many golf courses, especially those in the South, contain several pine trees, which add a great deal of beauty. One of the problems with pine trees, however, is that grass often refuses to grow beneath the trees. Many people believe that grass won't grow under pine trees because of the shade of the tree. They next plant a grass that grows well in the shade, thinking their problems will be solved. They are, however, mistaken. Grass won't grow well under many types of pines due to the acidity that pines add to the soil. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Rake all pine needles and remove them from beneath the tree. Pine needles are a prime source of acid that is killing your grass and destroying the look of your course.
Step 2
Rototill the soil around the base of your pine, including all of the area where grass refuses to grow or grows only sparingly. Use caution, as your rototiller will probably encounter roots from the pine growing close to the surface of the soil. Smaller roots may be cut (and the pieces removed by hand), but larger roots should be left intact.
Step 3
Put on gloves and a breathing mask. Pour lime into the fertilizer spreader and disperse the lime evenly over the rototilled soil. You will need 25 pounds of lime for every 1,000 square feet of soil, or 25 pounds of lime for each rototilled circle that has a radius of approximately 10 feet. The radius is the measurement from the base of the tree to the edge of the circle. This means you will need 25 pounds of lime for every large pine you are planting new grass under.
Step 4
Spread 3 pounds of grass seed evenly over a tilled circle with a radius of 10 feet.
Step 5
Spread 10 pounds of starter fertilizer or animal manure evenly over the seeds and then top with 100 pounds of potting soil to keep the birds away from the seeds.
Step 6
Water the area thoroughly, dampening at least 1 inch of soil. Water regularly to keep the top inch of soil moist for seven to ten days. If the weather is very hot or if there is a lot of wind, the soil may require watering two or more times per day for the first week.

Tips & Warnings

Keep pine needles raked in order to prevent new acid from being added to the soil. Spread lime on the soil under each pine tree once per growing season.
Do not breathe lime dust.

About The Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.

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