The subject of this study were soil requirements of common woody shrubs, which may be part of the forest understory (Sorbus aucuparia L., Frangula alnus Mill., Corylus avellana L., Juniperus communis L., Padus avium Mill., Euonymus europaea L., Sambucus nigra L.). We focused on phytocenoses in the vicinity of natural forests in reserves and national parks of Polish lowlands and defined optimal types and subtypes of soil with trophic variations for each underwood species. The range of trophism for each species of shrub was determined using specific physicochemical properties of the soils, while soil quality was assessed using the Trophic Soil Index (SIG) (Brożek et al. 2011a). The ecological requirements of the before-mentioned underwood species were linked with forest typology as well as natural vegetation and they showed different soil requirements. Here we report significant differences in particle size and dynamics of organic matter decomposition in soils associated with these underwood species.