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  • Writer's pictureStronger Roots

Pine Needles

Updated: Dec 8, 2021


•Lightweight = makes it easy to distribute around your yard AND for moisture to penetrate down to the plants, trapping it near the roots and preventing fast evaporation

•Stabilizing = The needles create quite a thick thatch too, helping to prevent erosion and stabilize bedding structure

•does NOT form a crust

•Slow Decay = Pine mulch can last up to 2 years while also overtime adding nutrients to the soil

•Protection = traps heat underneath layer to help aid in keeping seedlings and roots warm AND helps smother WEEDS from growing. During heavy rains, also keeps your fruits and vegetable plants clean from soil splashing which can harbor potential pathogens

•acid-loving plants like holly, azaleas, and rhododendrons appreciate a coat of pine needles

•leave them under the conifer tree where they condition the soil and help protect the trees root system

•Does NOT attract termites unlike bark and wood chips used as mulch do.

❗️MYTH: the pine needles themselves do NOT have a significant effect on the soil pH. As pine needles break down and are incorporated into the soil, DECOMPOSING ORGANISMS NEUTRALIZE THEM


•Excellent source of carbon

•Using aged pine needles/needles that served as mulch for a season, speeds up the decomposition process; chopped pine needles compost faster as well due to the increased surface area.

•Pine needles don’t compact in a compost pile keeping it airy/open resulting in a hotter compost pile which breaks down the organic materials quicker

•Soaking needles for 24 hours helps them to compost even faster

❗️Break down slower in a compost pile; limit to 10% of overall material in a pile

❗️ Pine needles have a waxy coating that makes it difficult for the bacteria and fungi to break it down. The low pH of pine needles inhibits the microorganisms in compost and slows down the process even more

❗️Fallen pine needles do have a pH of around 3.2-3.8 HOWEVER lose most of their acidity over the course of 3 weeks

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