Maintaining a beautiful lawn beneath pine trees can be challenging at best, but it's not impossible. You will want to take steps to keep the trees healthy without compromising the health of the grass. The following tips can help you do just that so both trees and lawn can remain lush and attractive.
Tip #1: Rake often
Pine trees shed needles year round in small amounts, although many varieties also drop a large amount of needles in fall. There may also be a second drop in spring as the new needles begin to emerge. Combine this with fallen pine cones, and your grass could quickly be buried and suppressed. The key is to rake often, especially during heavy needle drops. It can be tempting to just allow your lawnmower to "vacuum" up the needles, but at least once a year you need to rake heavily to remove any thatch on top of the soil caused by the buildup of fallen needles.
Tip #2: Over seed the lawn
It's not uncommon for the lawn to become sparse beneath the shade of a pine tree. This leads to bare soil and eventual weed take over. Over seeding the area each spring counteracts this problem. Consider planting a shade grass, such as red fescue, over the area. Water the lawn thoroughly and then spread the seed over the sparse area at the rate recommended on the bag for over seeding. Keep the lawn moist until the seeds germinate and become established.
Tip #3: Improve your irrigation
Large pine trees can suck up a lot of moisture, leaving your grass starving for water. Consider using a moisture meter to monitor water in the soil. You insert these meters into the ground and they let you know the moisture level. You can even have meters that are programmed into your sprinkler system. They will automatically adjust the watering duration to match the readings, which will ensure the lawn is receiving enough water – even with the competition from the tree.
Tip #4: Watch for nitrogen burn
Pine needles are high in nitrogen, as is most lawn fertilizer. Combining the two means the grass beneath a pine tree may receive too much nitrogen, which will burn and kill it. If the grass is yellowing or browning for no obvious reason, this could be the case. The best course of action is to have the soil professionally tested to determine exactly what nutrients, and how much, should be applied. If this isn't an option, try using a lower nitrogen fertilizer to see if this prevents the problem.
For more help, contact a tree and lawn care service in your area.