To avoid this problem, use shredded pine bark as a mulch instead of nuggets. They do not find any solution to get rid of pine needles. This episode is meant for any level of gardener who wants to learn about the benefits of pine needle mulch. The disease only affects some non-native pine trees, including mugo pine (Pinus mugo) and Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris), both hardy in USDA zones 2 through 7. 6. Pine bark mulch and other woody mulches use up nitrogen in the soil and reduce its fertility, but the effects are complex. Be sure to take these aspects into consideration as well. 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) will be enough for bark and compost. Also, pine needles are easily blown around. To prevent pine bark mulch from increasing soil acidity in your yard, alternate it with hardwood mulch every two years. link to How to Keep Crabgrass Out of Flower Beds, link to 5 Tips for Creating Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Flower Beds. During my research, I ran across an old blog titled Garden of Aaron. They settle and will form a dense blanket but in my experience, it takes a couple of years for them to decompose to a point that this occurs. When used constantly over several years, though, pine bark mulch can change the soil pH and use up nitrogen, affecting the growth of small plants. Pine straw might not be bad for gardens, but pine needles do contain acidic tannins that can have some effect initially. That being said, pine needles do pack well over time. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. A pine needle lacks the surface area necessary to be effective at blocking out light. Other plants that like a pine needle mulch are Rhododendrons, blueberries and Arctostaphylos. One of pine straw’s biggest advantages is also its downfall. Pine needles are readily available anywhere there are pine trees and you can often get them for free. This site is a participant in affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates and earns from qualifying purchases. In lime (alkaline) soils, or with the addition of dolomite lime, these plants just dwindle to nothing. I would advise against using pine needles to … Pull away the needles in spring when using pine straw for garden mulch, so that tender new shoots can easily penetrate to reach the sun and air. It’s not perfect but there are definite advantages to this approach. Pine needles are preferred by many gardeners because they are a natural, readily available and inexpensive way to mulch garden plants. If your yard is covered with pine needles from several mature pine trees, use the needles as mulch rather than bagging and discarding them. 62 - we'll explain how you can re-purpose those pine needles in your garden. Mulch can be a good barrier to protect your hydrangeas from pests such as slugs and snails. 6. Long pine needles tend to join or knit together, creating a sort-of blanket-like mulch layer. Do not mulch with pine needles or pine bark. They also stay loose as they decompose and don’t compact like other mulches, like leaf litter and wood chips, do. Many garden plants grow best in neutral or alkaline soils. It’s a different look than what we’ve had in the past and, aside from the labor involved, it was not a bad choice for our situation. Weeding can be a little easier when you don’t have to push aside any straw to pull unwanted plants up by the roots. Not only do these evergreens provide continual shade, the pine needles they drop increases the acidity of the soil. In "Pine Needle Mulch Benefits, Exposed" - DIY Garden Minute Ep. A couple of months later, the author found themselves retracting most of their initial convictions in a post aptly titled “Eating my words on pine straw“. The needles are thin and light. However, the roots of trees, shrubs and other large plants penetrate deep into the soil, far from the layer of mulch on the surface. The bottom line is you have a lot of choices when it comes to mulching. Pine Needle Mulch for Strawberry Plants. What to Do When Tomato Plant Stems Shrivel at Dirt Level, Remedy for Nitrogen Overdose on Tomato Plants, Long-Term Effects of Wood Chips on Vegetable Growth, New Jersey Agriculture Agricultural Experiment Station: Problems With Over-Mulching Trees and Shrubs, The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service: Mulching Your Trees and Landscapes. Dig the needles into the soil so they can decompose and lower the pH around plants. However, pine mulch isn't a bad thing and may be a good way to keep the weeds at bay. This is not to say that pine straw holds in moisture more effectively than bark mulch. It is difficult to keep weeds from pushing right through it unless you pile it on really thick. Thriving Yard is a privately owned website. You’ll want to opt for the longer needles whenever possible. Examples provided of tested products are actual products owned, tested, and used regularly by the author. According to the Ohio State University Extension publication, "Mulching Landscape Plants," pine needle mulch increases acidity in soil. Historical references do not indicate when pine needles were first used in baskets. But mulch that deep may not work around short plants. Depending on what you're mulching cedar bark works well. The pine straw also keeps the soil cooler in the summer. Are pine needles good mulch for tomatoes? Pine needles: Best as a winter mulch for ornamental beds and shrubs, and excellent for acid-loving ornamentals and small fruits. Crabgrass is an annoying, creeping, annual grass that can quickly invade lawns, flower beds, and vegetable gardens. If you mulch hostas with too thick a layer of mulch, the air will not have access to the soil surface. Mulching plants contains soil erosion, retains moisture in the soil and provides a steady supply of nutrients to plants as the needles decompose. Pine needle mulch (aka pine straw) is the most common mulch material in my area. Pine wilt is a fatal disease that's caused by the nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, which travels between trees via the pine sawyer beetle. So only put down pine needles in areas where you wish to kill the vegetation. It is such a prolific nuisance that there are multiple sprays and chemical control... 5 Tips for Creating Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Flower Beds. Pine needle mulch is an organic material that is readily available at garden centers and nurseries. This episode is meant for any level of gardener who wants to learn about the benefits of pine needle mulch. Mulches help soil retain moisture in summer, rain to penetrate the soil in winter, prevent weeds from growing and protect the roots of plants in winter. Doing that, however, can create welcoming habitats for pests (more on that later). iGrow: Can I Use Fresh Wood And Bark Mulch? If you want a hard surface, I would stay away from stone mulches like riverstone, clear gravel, or decorative gravel. Pine Needles are less expensive and go further. What plants do not like pine needles? Terpenes are chemical molecules said to retard germination and new growth. Some people fear that pine needles are too acidic for use in our gardens. As with grain straw, a 1″-2″ thick layer of pine needles makes an excellent mulch for the berry patch. So, pine needle mulch is the perfect mulch for hills and slopes. Bark mulch, of course, is very common. There's a small chance that pine bark mulch could spread pine wilt to certain pine trees. At present, people find it hard to get pine needles off the mulch. Pine needles are also known as pine straw. There is some truth to this. Missouri Botanical Garden: Rhododendron Sinogrande, Missouri Botanical Garden: Hamamelis Virginiana, Colorado State University Extension: Pine Wilt Disease, Missouri Botanical Garden: Pinus Sylvestris. 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