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Pine Tree Hell

 
Posts: 94
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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I just saw in a Permie video (Maybe Paul's) that stuff doesn't normally grow under Pine or Douglas Fir trees. Bummer. I'm building my Permie garden under a Pine in our backyard. We grow all kinds of unconventional things & break rules all the time here in the desert of Las Vegas so I'm undaunted but wondered if there were any tips that could help other than chopping it down which I can't do as it would destroy wall with neighbors who I haven't met but wanna keep it that way.

So is it that the pine needles are acidic ? We have alkaline soil here so can that be a good thing ? Does roots make the ground toxic ? As we are burying ALL our "trash" (compostable) throwing nothing away + Straw etc .. making fertility piles throughout to restore our soil. How much will the pine effect our efforts ?

Thanks in advance !!
 
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I don't know about Nevada, but here in upstate NY, I grow all sorts of plants underneath pine trees.
 
Posts: 1444
Location: Fennville MI
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A, single, one pine tree? Grow whatever you want . You are in Las Vegas? You have much bigger problems than a pine tree

In a conifer forest you have very intense shade, such that few things can grow. You have a duff made up of pine needles, which will acidify the soil and narrow the range of what will grow again. In some areas, such as where I live, the woodlands are very heavily dominated by pines that are adapted to grow in a less than optimal environment and which then apply further pressures on what other plants will grow in the area with the combination of shade and acid soil. These places get the name "pine barrens" and I can tell you from experience they are a rough environment to try and grow anything not native.

But a pine tree? Look at where the shade falls, choose your plants accordingly. You already noted that your soil is alkaline so the acidity from the needles may be a benefit. I do not recall pine being alleopathic, I think it is just an issue of dense shade and acidic soil, and those don't really apply with one tree and an alkaline soil chemistry
 
Enrique Garcia
Posts: 94
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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Thanks Peter !! I had not taken into consideration that the video in question was talking about forests or multiple trees ... & we grow lotsa things here in Vegas but the desert has a bad rap ... our growing season is essentially year round .. huge advantage !! And people are growing many things we are told won't grow here like blueberries, cherries & Avocados ... lots more work but some feel it is worth it ... But I understand the viewpoint of our harsh environment .. the Department of Forestry recently denied a local non-profit that gets the funding for our school gardens ( I teach Permaculture to school children) .. cuz they said nothing grows in Vegas !! I told them we should send them all the rotting fruit from all the trees all over town !!
 
Posts: 39
Location: Zone 6 Ohio but interested in Zone 6 Southwest
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Enrique, I'd love to hear more about how and what you teach the kids!
 
Enrique Garcia
Posts: 94
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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Helen - Well, I teach gardening in schools but my "boss" (friend) founded the local Permie group Great Basin Permacutlture & so she hired all her friends who are all into permaculture ... the other Farmers as we are called are free to teach what we like ... tho the kids ages range from K-5th grade mostly ... so its the basics .. why critters are good & companion planting .. how we mimic nature ... we only have a few middle & high schools where we can teach more advanced concepts ... but it's my dream job & we have over 60 gardens in schools here ... so it's kind of a miracle
 
Helen Gilson
Posts: 39
Location: Zone 6 Ohio but interested in Zone 6 Southwest
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!Que bueno! That's awesome Enrique!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2213
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I also have alkaline soil and where I want to plant blueberries I'm mulching with pine needles. I do have 4 rows of pines in my tree line and many plants are growing in that area.
 
pollinator
Posts: 108
Location: Central Virginia
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Old thread but I can't resist relating that when I was farming in desert or semi-arid areas (notably southern California) I would always get mulch and the more-decomposed stuff beneath, whether from redwoods or incense cedar or pine, and with the alkaline soil it worked very well. I was even using the humus as potting soil, including from redwoods, which allegedly impede germination but never had a problem.

Now here in VA I have to lime the soil as even oak leaves are acidic... and so is the soil of course.
 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2213
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
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I have noticed not much grows in my tree line. Even intentionally planting some stuff. Not sure why that is. My trees aren't THAT big.

When we go up to the mountains to cut fire wood there is all sorts of things growing. They're just tiny. Tiny strawberries. Tiny columbine. Tiny aspen. Tiny clumps of grasses. All adorable!
 
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