Planting Under Pine Trees in Arizona

Planting Under Pine Trees in Arizona

Submitted by Rose

I have found that any vegetables or flowers that can be grown in other gardens can be planted under pine trees. We live on a normal size city lot in central Phoenix, AZ where summer gardens can only survive with shade. We have 4 Aleppo Pines (drought and heat tolerant pines) in the west exposure of our front yard, and 1 in our backyard with south exposure that is 65 feet tall, and a diameter spread of 30 feet. We have flowers, roses, and various shrubs beneath the west exposure AleppoÂ’s. Both vegetables and flowers are in a garden that is a 10ft X 10ft square area beneath the backyard south exposure Aleppo Pine. In this garden are 4-5 ft tall patio tomato plants, 40 green bean plants, 3 sugar baby watermelon vines, chives, rosemary, miniature rose bush, 4 lantana plants, and petunias, all which are very productive. A 4 ft. high rabbit fence protects this garden from our 2 mature dogs, which both like to dig in soft soil. Along the top of this fence is a trumpet vine which grows from inside the garden.
Since the soil in Phoenix is extremely powdery hard clay like, called caliche, mulching the soil with a very good soil builder is necessary. The soil under these pines is mulched 1 foot deep. Also we rake any pine needles weekly that may have dropped with a 3 prong hoe. This is a very simple process and takes about 15 minutes per week for all 5 trees. Since we have put in all granite gravel for the front and sides of our lot, this takes less time than homeowners spend cutting grass each week. Our backyard contains only an area of grass in about a 40 ft X 50 ft space. The back yard perimeter is all garden area 6 feet deep, with numerous other shrubs, flowers, vegetables, and grape vines. The perimeter is also enclosed with a 4 ft high rabbit fence, and gates to enter from. (Again protection from the pet dogs). Because of the intense summer heat in Phoenix, the fence is covered with sun screen to protect the vegetables from afternoon sun. Also soaker hoses are used under the pines and in all garden areas to limit water evaporation. If we get a rare windy day, some pine needles have gone into this area, but are also removed during pine removal day. But because of the Phoenix climate and our protective pine trees, we are able to raise both vegetables and flowers 12 months of the year.


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