How to plant grass under pine trees

Written by gail delaney
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How to plant grass under pine trees
Growing grass under a pine tree isn't impossible; it just takes some ground preparation. (pine trunks image by mefanti from

If you have pine trees, it is often difficult to plant grass underneath that pine tree. This is a tough area to grow grass, but it is not impossible. Grass doesn’t like to grow under pine trees because the soil is too acidic from all the pine needles that fall onto the ground. You need to neutralise the acid in the soil before the grass is planted. You also need to keep the pine needles removed so the grass will grow.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rake
  • Tiller or garden fork
  • Lime
  • Fertiliser spreader
  • Grass seed
  • Starter fertiliser
  • Potting Soil
  • Shade-tolerant grass seed
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Remove as much of the pine tree debris as possible. A rake will remove quite a few of them.

  2. 2

    Till the soil under the pine tree, or you can use a garden fork to dig up the ground by hand. If you hit some smaller pine tree roots, you can cut them and remove the pieces by hand. Do not remove or damage the larger tree roots. This may kill or damage your pine tree.

  3. 3

    Scatter lime over the area you just tilled with a fertiliser spreader. Use 11.3 Kilogram of lime for every 1,000 square feet of soil, or to cover a 10-foot diameter circle. Lime helps neutralise the area.

  4. 4

    Scatter three pounds of grass seed over the tilled area. This will cover a 10-foot diameter circle. Choose a grass that is recommended for shady areas.

  5. 5

    Cover the area with 4.54 Kilogram of starter fertiliser for a 10-foot-diameter circle.

  6. 6

    Spread 45.4 Kilogram of potting soil over the seeds for an area that is a 10-foot-diameter circle. This will help keep your grass seeds safe from the birds.

  7. 7

    Water the newly sown grass seed thoroughly. Water the grass seed early in the morning or early in the evening to keep the top inch of the soil moist for one to 10 days. Depending on the weather, if you have a lot of wind or extremely hot weather, water the new grass two to three times per day.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear a respirator when working with lime so you don‘t breath in any lime dust.
  • Wear gloves when working with lime.
  • Keep the pine needles raked up so the grass doesn’t die.
  • Spread lime over the area once a year in the spring or summer.

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