Hi, we have several pine trees in our backyard that provide a sound barrier to the highway behind the trees. We hired someone to trim the trees but they cut way too much of the bottom branches off. Now it looks really bare. Will the branches grow back? If not, what should I do to fix the sound barrier and the bare look?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
Pine tree branches that have been removed will not grow back.
To fix the bare look, and perhaps reduce noise, you could try underplanting the area in front of the pines.
This is a challenging environment for any plant. The soil around and under pine trees tends to be acidic due to pine needle drop. Also, the area will be in shade, at least part of the day, and the soil will be dry due to water uptake by the pine trees.
There is a limited selection of shrubs that will grow in these conditions. I would try azaleas or rhododendrons. Consult your local garden center for specific varieties that will best meet your planting location.
You should improve the soil before planting any new plants.
You do not say what type of soil you have, but it could well be clay if you live in Toronto. If it is clay, amend clay soil by adding about 3 cm of coarse sand to improve drainage and aeration.
Any soil type can be improved by topdressing the area to be planted with organic matter such as well-rotted manure or compost. This improves moisture retention and adds nutrients without disturbing the soil structure.
Good luck with your planting project.