landscaping ideas under big pine tree and for outside walkway are

pasgardFebruary 10, 2007

I would like to get some recommendations on landscaping underneath a big pine tree. Would a cactus theme(succulent mostly) be possible or maybe leave it as is or maybe put bark to decorate? I know I can get some free mulch from a green waste location not too far from here in East Los Angeles. The soil underneath the pine is kind of hard and clay like. I heard pine needles are acidic. Also on the walkway area where oaks are, what can go there instead of just grass? This is like the Pasadena area in Southern California and would like any ideas that would be most cheapest and which would conserve the most water since considering the little rain we been getting, might go back to drought conservation in the future.(water restrictions that is) thank you and pictures are here if I found out how to attach them to post. well guess it should work thanks to the instructions of forum member donn.

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rosiew(8 GA)

What a great looking neighborhood and wonderful pine tree. I'd start with several inches of the free mulch and perhaps invest in soaker hoses to circle the pine, under the mulch. Forget other plantings there for now other than maybe some large containers.

Please let us know what you decide.

Rosie in Sugar Hill, GA

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 3:50PM
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First, I believe your "pine" is really a cedar (Cedrus species), as best as I can tell from the distance of the photo. And obviously landscaping under it in the traditional sense is not gonna work, which is why nothing grows there now - too large a tree with a too dense root system, lots of surface roots and too much shade. Bark or wood chips may be your best move, with perhaps a few partially imbedded landscape boulders to add interest. Keep the chip or bark mulch pretty light - too thick a layer can smother those roots - 2 inches is plenty and you can always touch up as necessary. With a tree this well-established and mature, you can skip the soakers as well.....that root system is able to access all the moisture the tree needs to survive all but the most prolonged droughts.

You are going to have similar issues with the oaks - well-established trees with an aggressive root system. A good shade and drought tolerant groundcover may work (check local nurseries for what they'd recommend for your area), but be careful about too much cultivation under these trees - oaks in particular resent having their roots messed about with. You may decide to mulch directly under the canopies and place the GC at the dripline. With careful selection of a groundcover, it may creep back a bit under the trees on its own.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 5:10PM
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This is the first time I have looked at this forum, I am usually on the Florida or WS one. Tonight I just wanted to check out something different and the Garden Design caught my eye since I am making some new beds in my backyard.

I do however, have pine trees in my yard which have roots above the ground just like yours. When I purchased my home two years ago, it looked exactly like yours does in the picture. This is what I came up with to improve the looks of the yard.

Here is another picture--I put the caladiums in pots in the long window boxes because the squirrels ate all my bulbs the year before.

I like this option because I am a senior citizen, and it cuts down on the grass I have to cut. This is just another picture.

Hope this will give you another idea to think about. Even though I live in Florida, we get freezes, so I put my ferns in pots so I move them to my back patio in the winter because it faces South. The Hydrangas freeze back in the winter, but they return in the spring--the Mexican Heather does the same. I also plant Pentas around the largest pine mixed in with the Mexican Heathers to add color. It looks really nice in the Spring thru Fall.

Hope I haven't been too long winded. I will post some pictures to get some ideas about my beds for the back yard soon.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 12:21AM
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Brent_In_NoVA(z7/6 VA)


Thanks for posting what looks like a very nice solution for a common problem. Throw in another chair and maybe a coffee table and you would have a very inviting place to sit and visit with friends.

- Brent

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 1:27PM
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That is no pine tree! It doesn't even appear to have needles, but leaves.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 7:06PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

The "pine" is a Deodar Cedar, Cedrus deodara, and it would probably be best to add lots of mulch here first. It is difficult to see from the photos which species of Oak these trees are, if they are Coast Live Oaks, it will be best not to plant anything under them that require summer irrigation. It looks like you get enough light that you could grow some succulents under these trees, but they would still do better if you amended the soil first so they would have a chance to get established.

Some succulents that do fairly well in light shade and don't need much water would include Aloe saponaria, Crassula multicava, Agave attenuata, Agave americana,(this one gets really big and has dangerous thorny tips), Agave bracteosa, Beschorneria yuccoides, Sedum praeltum var dendroideum,Plectranthus neochilus, Aptenia cordifolia. Other plants compatible with succulents might include Asparagus densiflorus v. sprengeri, Correa species, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Hypericum calycinum.

I'd also suggest converting your existing conventional spray heads to a drip system with emitters for individual shrubs for best results, all of these existing trees will outcompete any of these new plants for surface water, and they will especially need some supplemental watering in the dry seasons to get established.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 9:57PM
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thanxs everyone for their suggestions. Everyone so far is right too in that this big tree is not a pine tree but a cedar. let's see if i can change title.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 1:04AM
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would anyone have a recommendation for landscaper or gardener that can do sprinkling system and maybe other site work for the above referenced case. This is in the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley in southern california. Any inputs appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 3:41PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Good bets to get names of local people would include your local landscape materials supply outlet, irrigation supply outlets, or your local retail nurseries. All of these generally will have a board up with business cards for local gardening/landscape firms. I'd also suggest making the rounds of your neighbors and asking them if they would recommend someone they might have used. Or you could fly me down to Pasadena :)...

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 11:44AM
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