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Grass Seed Types for Under Pine Trees

Growing grass under pine trees is difficult because of the amount of shade cast by the pine and the acidity of the soil. Pines prefer acidic soils in a pH range between 4.5 and 7.0, while most grass types grow in a pH range between 6.0 to 7.0. Even when the soil pH is within the preferred range of the grass, gardeners must clean up pine needle debris to prevent the organic materials from making the grass too acidic.
  1. Bermuda

    • Bermuda grass grows well under tall pine trees that do not cast too much shade, according to gardening writer Walter Reeves. As a warm-season grass type, Bermuda grass seed should be planted in the late spring when soil temperatures rise. Furthermore, conduct a soil test under your pine tree to ensure that it falls somewhere between 6.5 and 8.0 before planting. Add lime to alter acidic soil or sulfur to amend alkaline soil (but don't do this if the tree is outside of its preferred range).


    • Zoysia is warm-season grass type that grows under tall pine trees, according to Reeves. Certain cultivars grow best in shady environments; examples of such cultivars include El Toro, Diamond, Emerald, Meyer, Belaire and Cavalier. Another benefit of growing zoysia grass is that it grows in an acidic pH range between 5.8 to 6.5. Plant zoysia grass seed in the late spring. Monitor zoysia's thatch accumulation. Thatch is the organic material found between the soil and grass blades. A thatch layer over 1/2 inch increases the risk of lawn diseases. This warm-season grass type produces excessive amounts of thatch.

    St. Augustine

    • St. Augustine grass grows well in shady environments like those found under dense pine trees. However, gardeners may have to search out seed for this grass type because it is commonly unavailable. Types of St. Augustine grass that tolerate shady environments include Seville, Raleigh, Palmetto, Delmar, Jade and Bitterblue, according to Clemson University. In addition, St. Augustine grass grows within a soil pH range between 5.0 to 8.5. Test the soil before planting.


    • Fescue grass types such as creeping red fescue, chewings fescue and hard fescue grow well in shady environments found under pine trees. These cool-season grass types are typically planted either in the early spring or late fall. Gardeners who plant this grass in the early spring risk losing some seedlings during the hot months of the summer. When growing fescue grass, allow the grass to grow 1/2 inch to 1 inch higher in the shade than it would normally grow in sunny locations.