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Garden Obstacles: Under the Pines

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

Gardening under Pine trees (Oaks and other acidic loving trees) can be a daunting task to take on but alas you have many choices! The conditions are dry and well drained and may be full shade or partially shaded with more sun on the edges. The following are native plants that will thrive under these conditions.


Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi - Bearberry

An adorable ground cover shrub growing 6-12" tall and 15” wide with white flowers in April-May followed by red berries. Great for erosion control. Host plant to the hoary elfin and the brown elfin butterflies.


Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine

Lovely red and yellow bicolor flowers in May-June. Blooms attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and hawk moths. The seeds are eaten by finches and buntings. Grows 24-30" tall by 18” wide in partial to full shade. Moderately deer resistant. Host plant for the columbine duskywing butterfly. Foliage may get a little ragged looking, if it does just cut it back to the ground. Will self sow readily in the garden.

Aster cordifolius - Blue Wood Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium)

Adorable pale lavender flowers with yellow centers in September-November. Grows 24-36" tall by 24-36” wide. Grows best in the sunnier spots under the pine trees. Great value to native bees. Cut back by ½ to ⅔ no later than July 4th for a tidier and more floriferous plant. Great in a planter. Will self sow readily in the garden. Supposed to be deer resistant.

Aster divaricatus - White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)

Masses of white flowers with red to pink centers in September - October. Grows 24-36” tall by 24-36” wide. Cut back by ½ to ⅔ no later than July 4th for a tidier and more floriferous plant. Great in a planter. Will self sow readily in the garden and can be quite aggressive even in full shade. Supposed to be deer and rabbit resistant.

Carex appalachica - Appalachian Sedge

Clump forming sedge 12" tall by 8” wide with a lovely ‘flowing’ habit. Makes a great lawn alternative in shaded areas of the garden. Great in a planter. Deer resistant.


Carex pensylvanica - Oak Sedge

Fine textured foliage growing 8" tall by 12+” wide. Ma