Planting Under a Pine Tree

by Rachel Blackburn in


Whew.  This last week has been busy.  Michael has been working like mad to get the permits for the kitchen renovation.  He'll have to get a separate permit for removing the load-bearing wall once we have the drawings from the engineer, but this permit covers everything else.  

"Everything else" is a LOT of stuff.  

We also spent a good portion of the week running around getting signatures from our neighbors on all the appropriate HOA paperwork.  We had to have 8 neighbors sign - the three across the street from us, the three behind us and the two next to us.  

Once that was behind us, Michael started harvesting moss from the back yard.  We have so much moss back there that we have decided to embrace it and go for a full-fledged moss lawn.  It's eco friendly and less work than grass.  

So, my project now is going to be that yard while Michael does a lot of the rough-in construction in the kitchen.  I need to scrape the top layer of stuff off the lawn, dig up the deeper roots of weeds and plum tree starts, and put the moss back down to grow again.  I'm sure you'll hear more about that later if it works.

Yesterday I was inspired to go to our local family-run nursery both because I'm working on the back yard and well, I just can't pass up a good sale.  Plus, the slugs are eating my hydrangeas and I needed some crushed hazelnut shells to keep them away.  I'm also always on the hunt for wood sorrel {which nobody seems to carry}.

We have 2 giant pine trees in our back yard.  The previous owners planted them about 50 years ago.  The neighbors have shared that the trees have names - Liz and George.  Liz needs some green stuff around the base of her trunk.  She's in a raised bed and the area around the base of her trunk is very bare, even though it is right next to the sunroom windows and is quite visible.  I've been wanting to plant wood sorrel there to provide a lush carpet, but have been unable to find anyone who carries it - and I've been hunting for it since April.

Yesterday my nursery came through for me!  They had 5 tiny pots of it, and they were 30% off!  Three of the pots looked pretty sad so they gave us an additional 50% off, which was really nice.  I snatched them up and enlisted my little helpers tonight to plant them.

An expert gardener at work had recommended that I put about 4 inches of compost all around the base of the tree, because wood sorrel roots grow just under the dirt or pine needles.  Pine trees have a shallow root system, so they make the soil around them very dry and compact.  This way I could plant directly into the compost and not have to dig into that hard, dry clay soil, plus the compost would feed the wood sorrel.  Win!

I'll post later how they're doing.  Supposedly this stuff multiplies fast, which I'm hoping is true.  If I can get my hands on more of it so I can speed up the process of filling in that bed, I will.

This week the dumpster arrives for the kitchen demo debris.  Can't wait to see some faux brick and blue wood paneling get ripped down!