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Not your regular kind of needles. Definitely not the kind used by tailors in stitching up torn clothes. Pine needles are leaves, thin and sharp, that grow on pine trees.
Hostas on the other hand are a species of herbaceous plants that grow typically under shade.
Their leaves are broad and wide; hence they are usually planted as cover plants for other crops still in their formative stages.
Even though they are grown as ornamental plants, every species of the hosta plant can be consumed as food by both plants and animals.
They are not a toxic species but can be toxic to animals like dogs and rabbits when consumed in large amounts.
As shade-loving plants and shade providers themselves, the hosta plant can be grown under any tree, the pine tree inclusive.
Pine needles cannot directly kill hostas under pine trees. They do not have the ability to pierce the life out of the hosta plant so easily.
But certain conditions other than the pine needles can cause death in hostas planted under pine trees.
In this article, we will explore the various safe practices to grow hostas under pine trees.
We will also explore the do’s and don’ts necessary for effectively growing a hosta under pine a pine tree.
Is it Okay to Plant Hostas under Pine Trees?
You can grow a perfect hosta plant under a pine tree. It is absolutely possible and okay to do so.
But you have to take note of the following tips for the good growth of your hosta plant underneath a pine tree.
1. Use plenty of Compost Manure
2. Practice annual Mulching
3. Slow soak when watering
4. Use sufficient fertilizers
5. Properly monitor the growth of your hosta plant
You can grow a healthy hosta under a pine tree without having to bother about pine needles if the above-listed tips are followed correctly.
1. Use Plenty of Compost Manure
The benefits of manure to the soil of your hosta plant cannot be over-emphasized. It is an important way of setting the soil right before and after planting.
This is because, on normal soil, the pine tree will compete so much with the hostas plant for nutrients that already exist in the soil.
Given the size of the pine tree and its very developed roots, you will agree that the feeble roots of the newly planted hostas, will be no match for the tree.
Hence, adding compost manure to the soil before and after planting your hostas provides enough nutrients for the hostas under the pine tree.
Also, adding compost manure to the soil does the function of amending the soil pH property and setting it right for the survival of the hostas plant.
Compost manure to the soil will also energize the activity of soil micro-organisms and worms that help aerate the soil for proper growth of the hostas plant.
When you dig a hole at the base of the pine tree for planting your hosta, ensure the hole is wide enough to contain compost manure and the hosta plant.
The wider the hole, the longer time the hostas plant can survive with enough nutrients available to it.
Also, ensure to bury the crown of your hostas plant when planting.
The crown of the plant is the part of the plant where the base of the stem meets the root.
Ensure that the crown is covered in soil.
2. Practice Annual Mulching
Mulching is a gardening practice that involves spreading layers of leaves or dead plants on the soil, to protect the roots of plants from sunlight, cold, or drought.
Mulching as a gardening practice improves the healthy life of your hosta plant in the sense that it protects and betters the soil structure.
It also improves the water retaining capability of the soil by reducing evaporation from the soil.
It increases soil fertility through the activities of soil microorganisms that cause decomposition of the mulches, turning them into compost beneficial to the soil.
Since you are planting under a pine tree, you should know that the pine tree has an umbrella shade that prevents lots of water from getting down to the soil beneath it.
When water manages to get to the soil, it is quickly sapped away as evaporation by the laws of the water cycle.
Therefore, if you must grow a hosta plant underneath a pine tree, you need to devise a means to efficiently retain the water that gets into the soil.
That means, is mulching.
The best part is that mulches suppress weed growth by 95%.
So with a good mulch. Your hosta plant can grow adequately under any pine tree, regardless of the multiplicated needles.
3. Slow Soak When Watering
Hostas that grow under pine trees usually have the problem of dry soils. To avert this problem, practice the watering technique of slow soaking.
A slow sprinkler could be left open in the field for prolonged hours; two hours or more, to adequately get to the roots of the plant and store them in the soil spaces.
It is the adequate water to the plant that helps give it shape and turgidity.
Watering the hosta plant slowly and with plenty of water also helps its taproot grow deeper into the soil.
With enough water in the soil of the hostas, there need not be competition for water supply between the roots of the pine tree and that of the hosta plant.
4. Use Sufficient Fertilizer
Both the pine tree and the hosta plant are large consumers of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, hence the likelihood of these nutrients in the soil depreciating very quickly.
This is the essence of applying fertilizers. Application of fertilizers should be prompt, adequate, and be the right blend of nutrients needed by the plant at the moment.
Fertilizers help maintain the size, shape, and structure of the hosta plant as well as keep it resistant to certain pest attacks.
Apply fertilizers as regularly as once in two weeks until the end of spring when the plant is about to go into winter dormancy.
5. Properly Monitor the Growth of Your Hosta Plant
Monitor consistently and lookout for signs that need attention in the plant. Give special attention to the moisture levels and the plant’s need for water.
Regularly feel the dryness or wetness of the hosta plant soil. When It feels dry, it is your cue to water the plant, but do not water when the soil still has good moisture content. You do not want to risk the consequences that come with overwatering a hosta plant.
Will Hostas Grow Under Evergreen trees?
Not every plant can grow under trees.
Most plants cannot also grow under evergreen trees, sharing soil water and mineral nutrients with them.
Fortunately, hostas are adapted to grow favorably well under pine trees which happen to be evergreen trees that survive as much as a hundred years and above given the right conditions.
So yes, hostas can survive under evergreen trees as much as they can survive under pine trees.
The soil acidity can always be corrected using compost manure and fertilizers.
Deficiency in the amount of water can also be corrected using the slow soaking technique and any other technique that soaks the hosta plant slowly yet effectively.
Why You Need To Add Mulch To Hostas Under Pines
As mentioned earlier in this article, mulching is an essential way of caring for the life of the Hostas plant.
Below, are five reasons why you need to add mulch to your hostas plant.
1. Mulching protects against temperature change and keeps the soil temperature constant. This is good for adequate growth.
2. Mulching helps prevent weeds and keeps your hostas free from unwanted competition
3. Mulching improves the soil arrangement and draws aesthetic appeal to the plant. simply say, mulching is artistic.
4. Mulching improves the quality of the soil by increasing the compost content in the soil. It has a double effect of protecting the soil and preserving the soil quality
5. Mulching protects the soil against unnecessary water loss due to evaporation.
How Far Apart Should I Plant My Hostas
Hostas need good spacing between themselves. Overcrowding the plants is disadvantageous in the event of a fungal disease breaking out.
Also, the leaves of hostas are adapted to grow big and large. crowding them limits the sizes they can grow to and leaves the plants looking really feeble.
Spacing should be 7 to 9 inches apart for dwarf species of the hosta plants, about 12 to 18 inches apart for the small species of hostas, and about 28 to 36 inches apart for the large species.
This is necessary to let the plant grow to its maximum size.
Removing Pine Roots: An Essential to The Survival of Hostas
The pine tree usually has a network of shallow roots that are fibrous and twined all around the perimeter of the tree.
These roots usually disturb the planting and growth of the hosta plants.
To save the situation, it is advised that some of the roots be cut off.
This is to create enough soil space for the growth and development of the new plant.
The more roots there are on the pine tree, the more competition the hosta plant has to go through, for water and nutrients,
In this article you have read that:
1. Pine needles cannot kill hostas plan
2. Hostas can be planted under pine trees if the right guidelines are followed
3. As much as hostas can be grown under pine trees, they can also be grown under any evergreen trees.
4. The best watering technique for your Hostas plant is the slow soaking technique.
5. Excessive pine roots hamper the growth of the hosta plant and so should be trimmed.
Pines and hostas can grow together sharing nutrients and water. It is important to practice the right gardening procedures to ensure your hostas grow adequately well.