This post was originally publised on 3/27/20 and updated on 5/24/21.
If grass won’t grow under your Pine trees, you are not alone! We recently got a question in our inbox from a customer that wanted to know why she was having issues getting grass to grow under her Pine trees. She said that her neighbor had no issue accomplishing this and was in need of some help to get her on the right track.
This is a very common issue.
Why will grass not grow under Pine trees?
A lot of people actually have issues growing grass under pine trees because the soil is acidic, there is little sunlight, the competition for water is intense, and pine needles form a heavy mat as they fall which further limits sunlight from getting through to the grass.
What can I do to fix it?
The number one thing that usually fixes this issue is amending the soil where you want the grass to grow with agricultural lime. Lime raises the soil’s pH, which makes it less acidic. This puts the soil in the right pH range (around a neutral 7.0) again for the grass to be able to uptake all the nutrients it needs.
You can purchase bagged lime at our garden center. Apply any time of the year. You can typically use 20 pounds of ground limestone per 1,000 square feet to correct a mildly acidic lawn.
Although applying lime usually fixes the issue, you might want to have your soil tested before adding amendments to ensure you’re really adding what the soil needs. Adding stuff without testing the soil can sometimes put you in a worse position than where you started. You can have a routine soil test done for $10 through Virginia Tech. You can go to their website here to find more information about how to test your soil and where to send it to. This will come back telling you what your soil is deficient in, what the pH is, and what you should add based on your test results. This will be important for knowing exactly how much lime to add.