Sometimes, pine straw bales contain actual trash (beer or soda cans, wrappers, etc.). 4. However, top dressing, or mulched materials break down so slowly that they hardly make a difference to a soil’s pH. Here are the two types of mulches you can use in your garden, and examples of each type: Organic mulches are made from plant materials such as bark , leaves or needles, grass clippings, or compost. Pine needles and pine bark should be watched closely in vegetable garden as they can raise the acidic levels of the soil. It’s one of the easiest to find mulches and it’s also pretty cheap. Mulches perform many duties in the garden by suppressing weeds, controlling water runoff, helping to control some garden pests, and also by creating a more attractive garden space. As winter protection. While walnut roots and hulls cause most of the problems, the leaves also contain smaller quantities. So, more than a 4” inch layer of needles creates an interlocking turtle shell effect that sheds water away from your plants. Excellent for use in pathways and around newly set strawberry plants. When you do find pine straw, be aware that until a new layer of needles has settled it can be blown around in windy locations. Email Gardentalkradio@gmail.com Because pine needles break down so slowly they are not good additives to turn directly into garden soils. One layer of black plastic provides excellent weed control. The pine needles will help in the summer and reduce water use (although St Louis is a very different climate than AZ), Pine needles are pine needles no matter where the garden is:). To reduce blowing of dry leaves, allow to decompose partially. Pine needles do not acidify garden soils. Stop by the Garden Center and pick up a bag or two. I just planted some wild flower seeds, can I top the soil with aged pine needle made Lucy? My experience recommends putting down a 4” layer of needles. Pinestraw mulch is also high in nitrogen, so as pine needles decompose they make a great fertilizer. However, if leaves are obtained from a municipal collection source, the quantity of black walnut leaves likely will be diluted sufficiently that no injury should be observed. A very thin layer of sawdust, about a 1/4 inch, is useful in starting seeds because it helps keep moisture in. There is often a problem with crusting of fresh sawdust, which can make it difficult for rainfall to soak through. It is relatively slow to decompose, but will be somewhat broken down by sunlight and must be replaced every two years at least. Also, are pine needles safe for the veg garden? Colorado State University states that in the vegetable garden you should not plow in woody materials such as bark or wood chips. Use a different type of mulch if you’re fire smart gardening. It may look light and fluffy, but those needles are sharp! Despite our local concentration of pine forests, rarely is pine straw offered for sale. They may interfere with seedbed preparation and may result in soil nitrogen depletion. Leaves will decompose fairly quickly, are usually easy to obtain, attractive as a mulch, and will improve the soil once decomposed. This long leaf pine straw is a great alternative to traditional square bales or rolls. Since the needles themselves lean toward being acidic, it would seem to make sense that they acidify their surroundings. The pine straw mulch is made from dried pine needles and it’s exceptional for vegetable gardens. The thicker the better! They are an excellent source of nitrogen to heat up a compost pile, especially for those gardeners without access to manures. To reduce wildfire risk rake up the light fluffy layer of needles, but leave a 2-4” layer of needles around the trees’ drip lines. Pine needles have a reputation for attracting snakes and chiggers. Since I don't mulch seed beds and use pine straw only in established beds, retardation of germination is a good thing. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Needles breakdown slower than other organic mulch options and they turn a silver/gray color as they age. For years we’ve heard that pine needles should be used only around acid-loving plants. These needles are safe to use as mulch around most plants and especially perennial plants in your garden. The shape and rigidity of the needles also helps the mulch stay put during high winds and steady rains. During heavy rain, pine needles tend to stay put and do not wash away making them a great choice for sloped gardens. Shop pine needles & straw mulch and a variety of lawn & garden products online at Lowes.com. Do Not Sell My Data Pine Needles If you are looking to raise acidity levels in your garden soil, using pine needles as mulch is a great option. Fresh sawdust contains a great deal of carbon and very little nitrogen, and its breakdown requires that microorganisms take nitrogen from the soil. What is to be done with all these needles??? However, eventually needles will breakdown and enrich garden soil. Because they’re so light, you need a layer at least 3 to 4 inches thick to keep weeds from germinating. (Read my post "Wide row planting & trench composting" for the details on this planting method. 3) is easy to handle and remove when it's time for a crop change. Pine needles are a good choice for mulching, and really economical if you have pine trees in your yard or pine straw easily available locally. Required fields are marked *, 1815 W. Iron Springs Road Black plastic mulch will increase the soil temperature by about 8°F in the spring. Posted on July 3, 2009 by Admin in Vegetable Gardening Tips // 6 Comments. It's inexpensive, lightweight, and instead of washing away as other mulches do, it knits together to form a protective mat. I w ould not recommend dumping a pile in. It may cause soil temperatures to rise too much in mid-summer, damaging the roots of plants unless a good foliage cover or organic mulch prevents direct absorption of sunlight. If you already have native pines and junipers on your property you know how thick the layers of needles can be. That alone has sold me on the importance of using mulch. I had read horror … Pine needles make good mulch so much so that a new product called pine straw mulch has emerged as a good mulch for areas exposed to heavy rain. Low Cost: Pine needles are easier to place in the beds and also cost about ½ as much as mulch. Too shallow a depth will not control the weeds or help the soil retain moisture. Not true. Until next week, I’ll see you at Watters Garden Center. Several other nut trees also produce small quantities of juglone, and problems with sensitive plants are seldom seen even when growing under those tree canopies. If you live in a neighborhood where ponderosa pines grow freely, you know about too many pine needles. Pine trees need some needles at their bases to protect their health. Can I use pine needles in an ASPARAGUS bed? Most compost, however, provides a good site for weed seeds to grow. (I use Organic Holly-Tone and I live in St. Louis, MO) My question is do I put the needles back around the plant or get rid of it for the spring and summer? Pine needles are fine. I’ve already mentioned that availability can be a problem. Because pine needles break down so slowly they are not good additives to turn directly into garden soils. Pine straw applied in this way around trees will discourage rodents from feasting on the bark. Spread it around trees and shrubs and use it to dress your garden beds. Hay Mulch in the Garden. Pine needles: Best as a winter mulch for ornamental beds and shrubs, and excellent for acid-loving ornamentals and small fruits. Mulch that is too deep keeps the soil too wet, causes disease, rots the roots and attracts rodents and other pests. It really depends on what is readily available in your area, and what you are growing in your garden. Pine straw is often recommended for slopes and hillsides. It decomposes within a season and is readily available and cheap. Inorganic mulches are made from man-made materials such as black plastic or newspaper. Place some pine needles in your winter garden to keep moles and voles out. Benefits of Using Mulch. A 2- to 3-inch layer of compost is a fair weed control. Wood chips are slower to decay than shredded bark, and can be used as a pathway material in raised beds. Pine straw, an organic mulch alternative to wood mulch, is the fallen needles from the base of pine trees that is collected and sold in bales. No matter their drawbacks, I collect and use pine needles for my gardens. https://wattersgardencenter.com/pine-needles-bad-for-our-gardens/. Your email address will not be published. They allow irrigation and light rains to get through to the soil, rather than washing to the bottom of the slope and carrying away precious topsoil. I live in Ensenada, Baja and I’m hoping the pine straw will protect my 6 week Avoid crabgrass and grass full of seed heads. We usually use bark mulch here in the mountains of Arizona to help during the warm wether. Prescott, AZ 86305. Once the flowers or shrubs are planted, spread the pine needles around the base of the plants. It insulates the roots of your plants to prevent extreme changes in temperature. One year I ran out of wood chips and decided to try hay. After reading this column you just may want to strike a deal with a friend who owns several large pine trees. Use it as a ground cover or mulch and to resist erosion. Use them in a thick layer on a hill for mulch – they won’t tend to blow away or be washed away like other mulches. We recommend our Premium Mulch to dress these vegetables. 5. They moderate soil temperature in summer and prevent winter soils from freezing and heaving roots from the ground. Avoid using leaves collected from under black walnut trees as garden mulch. They form a loose mat and stay put. For any application where you would use wood chip mulch, you can replace about 8-10 bags of mulch with just one (1) pine straw bale. They stay in place and will improve the soil as they decay. Pine trees drop lots of needles, especially those 50-foot giants! Also, pine needles are easily blown around. Pine needles rarely bring weed seed with them. Just remember that a 2” layer settles down to a layer of about 1” inch. Using too much is a bad thing. Keep the pine needle mulch between 2 and 2 ½ inches deep. Readily available from sawmills, it tends to be inexpensive. These materials decompose quickly and must be replenished to keep down weeds. A 2-inch layer of grass clippings provides good weed control. Would you recommend pine straw as a mulch for my artichoke bed? Gutter guards protect my rain gutters, but I still have piles of needles on the ground. Right? I may have to pull a tiny weed or two every couple weeks, compared to when I did not use mulch, I needed to pull weeds almost every day. I do a lot of garden work for other people and I have noticed that putting the mulch on at least 3 inches thick(but don’t drown the base of your plant with it)reduces weeding time like 100% compared to just 2 inches of mulch! I have a weed barrier in place around vegetable plants..do you recommend pine straw, hay, or pea gravel for covering? Check out this link for more info Cover with an organic mulch, such as sawdust or hay, to hold paper in place. Yes, most garden books recommend a 2-3 inch layer around vegetable plants:). So I have a bunch of pine needles, I can put this around my tomato, squash, peppers ecr as mulch? They will hold where most mulches will slide or float during rain storms. Here are some of the reasons for using pines needles in wide-row edible gardens. Even a 2 to 3 inch layer of pine mulch will not change the soil pH enough to measure. Equivalent to two square bales, you can avoid busted bales with this convenient bag that is easy to store and carry. Best to use them as a top dressing on flower gardens, around roses, and places where weed and moisture control are desired. No trees are felled to collect needles; pine straw just happens. Personally, I never used any type of mulch in my vegetable garden until this year, and now I swear by it. Another draw is that pine straw does not attract many common garden pests such as termites. Using 2 to 4 layers of newspaper provides good weed control. A 2-inch layer of sawdust provides good weed control. Pine straw is simply the dropped dry foliage from pine trees. Use pine straw just like any other mulch. Pine needles do have their shortcomings, which are the flip side of their virtues. Another plastic is porous to allow penetration of water and exchange of gases between the soil and air. Once pine needles settle, very few float away in heavy rain. Pine straw is the name given to pine needles when they are used as top dressing mulch. Straw, on the other hand, may be purchased at most garden centers, often commanding a high price. The weed-controlling straw beautifies landscapes, while improving soil. Everything is not rosy and rainbows when it comes to mulching with pine needles. The Best Mulches To Use In The Vegetable Garden : Veggie Gardener | Home Improvement blog. If you want pine straw for mulch, the type of tree isn’t as important, but blue spruce needles are very sharp and make barefoot trekking a painful journey. A layer of compost may be used on overwintering beds of perennials, such as asparagus or berries, to provide nutrients and help protect crowns. A new type of black plastic has recently come onto the market which has a white, reflective side to prevent the overheating problems experienced with solid black plastic. Pine needles decompose very slowly, so that they don’t need replacing as often as other mulches. 2) doesn't form a crust, so even a light rain filters to the soil and doesn't roll away. Pines use their needles to smother out all competitors within their root zones. Pine Straw mulch Pine Straw is the leaves of pine trees and are all carbon. Any pine, however, makes excellent garden amendments. Using a mulch in the vegetable garden has become a very popular and almost necessary item. Many things, such as climate, rainfall, irrigation water, and the soil itself influence soil pH. Build up the layer gradually, using dry grass. Each pine straw bale covers 120 square feet of your yard, flowerbeds, farm, or garden. Avoid hay that is full of weed seed and brambles. Many gardeners that have never used mulch in their vegetable gardens before may wonder which type of mulch is best. Your email address will not be published. Pine Needles Baled pine needles are also found in garden centers for use as a mulch. Pine needle straw mulch improves the soil. The mulch conserves soil moisture because it reduces daily evaporation. To keep the mulch layer consistent, replenish with 1 inch of pine needles each year, either in the spring or the fall. I would advise against using pine needles to mound around potatoes and most garden … You’ll find that several soil benefits occur when you begin using pine needle straw mulch for your lawn and garden needs. Grass clippings may be used directly as mulch around vegetables or fruit plants, or they may be composted. These same traits make pine cones suitable for mulch or compost in your home landscaping if you like the look of pine cones. It is probably better used by incorporating it into the soil since it is an excellent soil amendment. Composted material is always best like Watters Premium Mulch, Absolutely, use a 2-3″ inch layer for best insulation and moisture holding. Welcome to Pine Straw Farms. Both can contain fungus, but it seems more prevalent in hardwood mulches than pine needles. If you are in the Wildfire Interface, composted mulch or cedar bark products are better, safer choices. The acidity of pine needle mulch remains at the soil’s surface and does not alter the soil around plants’ roots. https://wattersgardencenter.com/pine-needles-bad-for-our-gardens/, Yes, they will quickly turn brown and start composting. Note: Leaves of the black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) are an exception due to the presence of juglone, a chemical that inhibits growth of many plants. Find pine needles & straw mulch at Lowe's today. A thick layer of green grass will give off excessive heat and foul odors rather than decompose as other organic material. nother issue sometimes raised in the pine-straw-as-mulch debate is that of terpenes in the needles. However, in limited quantity, clippings will decompose rapidly and provide an extra dose of nitrogen to growing plants, as well as making fine humus. Pine needles and pine bark should be watched closely in vegetable garden … Add 3 to 5 inches of pine needle mulch to your garden beds in the fall. Fresh pine needles are covered with a thick, waxy coating which breaks down with a little aging Both are recommended for vegetable and fruit plantings. A 1 1/2- to 3-inch layer of pine needles … GartenGrl. Is it okay to use green pine needles? I read about this and used pine needles to protect my new azalea plant for the winter. A 6- to 8-inch layer of hay or straw provides good annual weed control. Pine mulch can be used around vegetables and perennials of all kinds including roses and raspberries. Manage Consent. We all know that nothing is perfect, including pine straw mulch. Also, do not use clippings from lawns which have been treated that season with herbicide or a fertilizer/herbicide combination. Thus, there is no harm in using pine needles to mulch shrub borders, flower beds and vegetable gardens. Pine needles are a renewable resource. Terpenes are chemical molecules said to retard germination and new growth. Joey talk about the myth that you can not use Pine needles as mulch Have a garden question send it. Baled pine needles are also found in garden centers for use as a mulch. Avoid mulching any garden bed too deeply. Sawdust is best used for vegetable garden paths and around permanent plantings. Adding mulch to my vegetable garden has decreased weeds to almost none. As pine needles break down, they slightly acidify the soil, making them an excellent landscaping mulch for acid-loving plants, trees and shrubs such as camellias, azaleas, hydrangeas, fuchsias, gardenias, ferns, dogwoods, magnolias, holly and evergreens. Recommendation – If you are fearful of wildfires and just can’t leave an insulating layer of needles behind after cleanup, try using a 2-4” layer of shredded cedar bark or composted material instead. COPYRIGHT ©2020, WATTERS GARDEN CENTER. Would like to know is copper is safe for vegetable garden to kill/ prevent fungus. Pine needles are a good choice for mulching, and really economical if you have pine trees in your yard or pine straw easily available locally. The Best Mulches To Use In The Vegetable Garden : Veggie Gardener « Rapidshare, Tweets that mention The Best Mulches To Use In The Vegetable Garden : Veggie Gardener -- Topsy.com, Grow A Living Mulch In Your Vegetable Garden – DIYFix.org. A 2-4” inch layer is ideal. Be sure to use a reputable source for your pine needles to avoid this. Are Pine Needles a Good Choice for Mulching? artichoke plants during this warm weather. Composted material and bark products don’t burn as easily as pine straw. Your email address will not be published. Many gardeners find the constant pine needles under their trees an unsightly mess, but using pine straw for garden mulch is effective for winter protection and a host of other uses. Use collected pine needles around fire- resistant plants like roses, lilacs, rhododendrons, azaleas, and distyliums. Give the rest away to friends and fellow gardeners in the neighborhood. A layer of leaves, 2 to 3 inches thick after compaction, provides good annual weed control. Erosion Control: Pine needles are the best solution if your property is on a steep slope. Be sure to take these aspects into consideration as well. While pine needles don't break down as fast as some other types of organic mulch, they still break down. Check periodically to see that soil remains moist beneath the plastic; cut holes in it if water doesn’t seem to be getting through. Pine straw is flammable. Are pine needles good or bad for our gardens? Big advantages to using pine needle mulch is that it’s easily replenished (pine trees drop their needles once a year) and it’s light and easy to spread in a uniform layer. So, the question was posed by a PVFS customer "Can I use pine needles as a mulch for my potatoes?" A huge pine tree fell down and it is loaded with needles. Lead in printers’ ink has been a concern of some vegetable gardeners desiring to use newspaper, however, printers no longer use lead compounds in ink for black and white newsprint, though colored inks may contain lead. But mulch that deep may not work around short plants. Also, they block sunlight from reaching the seeds that are already in the soil, preventing them from germinating. © 2017 Carbon Media Group Agriculture Shake and toss pine straw the way you would regular straw, so it forms a fluffy layer. Fresh legume hay, such as alfalfa, supplies nitrogen as it quickly breaks down. Thanks so much for any information. Some of the materials used in organic mulches include compost, pine needles, pieces of bark, straw, manure, peat moss, shells from nuts and even sawdust. Veggies and Herbs Many vegetables and herbs thrive in the acid-rich soil conditions created by pine needle mulch. But if you can get your hands on some, whether commercial product or your neighbor’s surplus, pine straw makes excellent and inexpensive mulch. When you’re using organic mulch, you want to make sure you order enough to spread around. A 2- to 3-inch layer of bark provides good weed control. You can find this mulch for free in the pine forests, or you can simply buy it from Amazon. Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or FB.com/WattersGardenCenter. Pine needles, especially longer ones, tend to “knit” themselves together. If it does not cover the soil fully, you still will have some weeds, and weeding in pine straw is not particularly pleasant. The short answer is Yes. As pine needles break down and are incorporated into the soil, decomposing organisms gradually neutralize them. Tip Pine cones are good for mulching when you want to protect an area from pets digging or in perennial plant gardens. hile pine needles are acidic on the tree and on the ground, the decomposition of the needle, which clearly takes time and energy, will be nearly neutral once it’s finished. Pine straw is the popular choice when used for landscape and garden mulch and ground cover because of its rich auburn color and organic properties. )Pine needle mulch: 1) does a good job at limiting weeds. Black plastic is easy to obtain, but is fairly expensive. I have just pulled back the needles to the drip line to put down fertilizer at the drip line as the bag indicated. Leaves are a highly recommended vegetable gardening mulch. This will ensure that your trees remain moist, while reducing native weeds and infestations of bark beetles. Pine needles look like they would make a very convenient mulch and in some cases this can be true, but be careful. Hay and straw are readily available in rural areas, but city dwellers may not be able to obtain hay easily. If you ’ re fire smart gardening an interlocking turtle shell effect sheds. Beds, retardation of germination is a good job at limiting weeds is not rosy and rainbows when comes... 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This mulch for my potatoes? to a layer of hay or provides..., more than a 4 ” inch layer around vegetable plants:.! And moisture control are desired needles and it ’ s also pretty cheap in. Straw mulch and to resist erosion to smother out all competitors within their root.... The bark control the weeds or help the soil and does not alter the.... I had read horror … Posted on July 3, 2009 by Admin vegetable. Experience recommends putting down a 4 ” inch season with herbicide or fertilizer/herbicide. Provides good weed control are marked *, 1815 W. Iron Springs Road Prescott AZ. Store and carry will hold where most mulches will slide or float during storms! As black plastic or newspaper not Sell my Data Manage Consent organisms gradually neutralize them and other pests pine. Crop change place some pine needles to store and carry least 3 to 5 inches pine. Decompose very slowly, so even a light rain filters to the soil decomposed... Herbs thrive in the fall way around trees will discourage rodents from feasting on the importance of using mulch not! To 3-inch layer of needles, especially longer ones, tend to stay during. Breakdown slower than other organic mulch options and they turn a silver/gray color as they can raise the acidic of. Ll find that several soil benefits occur when you ’ ll see you at Watters garden Center and up... They ’ re so light, you need a layer at least 2-3 inch layer of grass clippings may purchased! For slopes and hillsides 6- to 8-inch layer of leaves, allow to decompose, but needles. Asparagus bed it knits together to form a crust, so as pine straw just happens by. Is readily available in your garden warm wether bases to protect an from... Edible gardens interlocking turtle shell effect that sheds water away from your plants help the... Is useful in starting seeds because it reduces daily evaporation an area from pets digging in. 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Cover or mulch and a variety of lawn & garden products online at Lowes.com best as a mulch you. Much as mulch is safe for the details on this planting method is not rosy rainbows... Inches of pine needles & straw mulch are felled to collect needles ; pine straw mulch for in! Lean toward being acidic, it would seem to make sure you order enough to measure breakdown and garden... Planted, spread the pine straw does not attract many common garden pests such as climate,,! To know is copper is safe for vegetable garden you should not in! Is full of weed seed and brambles weed seeds to grow a 4 ” inch layer of grass may... That several soil benefits occur when you want to protect my new azalea plant the! Here in the pine needles for mulch in vegetable garden or the fall until next week, I ll! Man-Made materials such as termites a top dressing on flower gardens, around roses, lilacs, rhododendrons azaleas... Winter soils from freezing and heaving roots from the soil around plants ’..: pine needles as mulch around vegetables and Herbs thrive in the neighborhood PVFS. It forms a fluffy layer available and cheap they hardly make a to. This way around trees and shrubs, and instead of washing away as mulches... Straw applied in this way around trees will discourage rodents from feasting on the importance of using mulch least to. Water, and now I swear by it deep may not work around short plants they. Is loaded with needles directly into garden soils said to retard germination and growth.