Pine trees thrive in acidic soils that may need a soil treatment after the removal of the tree depending on what you want to plant. Typically, pine trees grow in a soil pH range between 4.5 to 7.0. Gardeners who want to plant grass or other landscape plants must treat their pine's former growing area with lime to raise the soil's pH for other plants. Understanding more about acidic soils helps you figure out what soil treatment is best.
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Testing the Soil
Rake up all the pine needles laying around in the tree's former growing area. Pine needles contribute acidic properties to the soil, which will alter your soil's pH. Dig a 2-to 4-inch hole in the soil. Collect one cup of soil and remove any debris or vegetation from the soil sample. Mail your soil sample to your local cooperative extension office of a soil analysis. Find out the pH range of the landscape plant or grass that you want to grow in the area. Knowing the preferred soil pH of your plant helps you know how much lime to apply.
How Much Lime
The amount of lime you use depends on your existing soil pH and the type of plant that you want to plant in the pine's former area. For example, most grass types prefer to grow in a soil pH range between 6.0 to 7.0. If your former pine tree area has a soil pH of 5.6, you need to apply 50 lbs. of limestone per 1,000 square feet. Avoid applying to much limestone or you can make the soil too alkaline.
Liming the Soil
Gardeners can lime their former pine tree's growing area anytime that the ground isn't frozen. Its important when liming to do it far enough in advance for the soil's pH to change enough for plant growth. Plants grown in a soil pH outside of their preferred range cannot absorb the soil's nutrients. It takes three to six months to alter the range. Apply limestone granules to the area and water. Watering after liming helps the soil treatment sink into the ground.
Gardeners wanting to plant additional pine trees or other acid-loving plants do not need to apply a soil treatment. Acid-loving plants such as roses, azaleas, birch, spruce, radishes, blueberries, peaches and crabapples prefer a low pH. In fact, its best not to apply limestone around acid loving plants because they suffer from nutritional problems or chlorosis issues if the area is to alkaline. Chlorosis is a condition that causes yellowing foliage from lack of nutrients.