I have just pulled back the needles to the drip line to put down fertilizer at the drip line as the bag indicated. Grass clippings may be used directly as mulch around vegetables or fruit plants, or they may be composted. Avoid crabgrass and grass full of seed heads. Spread it around trees and shrubs and use it to dress your garden beds. I just planted some wild flower seeds, can I top the soil with aged pine needle made Lucy? Prescott, AZ 86305. It decomposes within a season and is readily available and cheap. 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. 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:). A 2- to 3-inch layer of bark provides good weed control. nother issue sometimes raised in the pine-straw-as-mulch debate is that of terpenes in the needles. We usually use bark mulch here in the mountains of Arizona to help during the warm wether. https://wattersgardencenter.com/pine-needles-bad-for-our-gardens/, Yes, they will quickly turn brown and start composting. Tip Pine cones are good for mulching when you want to protect an area from pets digging or in perennial plant gardens. Pine needles decompose very slowly, so that they don’t need replacing as often as other mulches. 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. Black plastic mulch will increase the soil temperature by about 8°F in the spring. A 2- to 3-inch layer of compost is a fair weed control. Once the flowers or shrubs are planted, spread the pine needles around the base of the plants. Pines use their needles to smother out all competitors within their root zones. Any pine, however, makes excellent garden amendments. Straw, on the other hand, may be purchased at most garden centers, often commanding a high price. (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? Because they’re so light, you need a layer at least 3 to 4 inches thick to keep weeds from germinating. After reading this column you just may want to strike a deal with a friend who owns several large pine trees. 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. The shape and rigidity of the needles also helps the mulch stay put during high winds and steady rains. Not true. Manage Consent. Fresh legume hay, such as alfalfa, supplies nitrogen as it quickly breaks down. Avoid mulching any garden bed too deeply. Using a mulch in the vegetable garden has become a very popular and almost necessary item. Pine needles are a renewable resource. Pine straw applied in this way around trees will discourage rodents from feasting on the bark. Pine needles are fine. Benefits of Using Mulch. Build up the layer gradually, using dry grass. Because pine needles break down so slowly they are not good additives to turn directly into garden soils. Because pine needles break down so slowly they are not good additives to turn directly into garden soils. Terpenes are chemical molecules said to retard germination and new growth. 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! Pinestraw mulch is also high in nitrogen, so as pine needles decompose they make a great fertilizer. Personally, I never used any type of mulch in my vegetable garden until this year, and now I swear by it. Pine straw is flammable. We recommend our Premium Mulch to dress these vegetables. https://wattersgardencenter.com/pine-needles-bad-for-our-gardens/. A 2-4” inch layer is ideal. Use a different type of mulch if you’re fire smart gardening. Once pine needles settle, very few float away in heavy rain. But if you can get your hands on some, whether commercial product or your neighbor’s surplus, pine straw makes excellent and inexpensive mulch. 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. I read about this and used pine needles to protect my new azalea plant for the winter. 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. Adding mulch to my vegetable garden has decreased weeds to almost none. Welcome to Pine Straw Farms. A huge pine tree fell down and it is loaded with needles. 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. 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. If you live in a neighborhood where ponderosa pines grow freely, you know about too many pine needles. The mulch conserves soil moisture because it reduces daily evaporation. Both can contain fungus, but it seems more prevalent in hardwood mulches than pine needles. Since I don't mulch seed beds and use pine straw only in established beds, retardation of germination is a good thing. They moderate soil temperature in summer and prevent winter soils from freezing and heaving roots from the ground. Also, they block sunlight from reaching the seeds that are already in the soil, preventing them from germinating. Be sure to take these aspects into consideration as well. Pine needles rarely bring weed seed with them. Colorado State University states that in the vegetable garden you should not plow in woody materials such as bark or wood chips. If you already have native pines and junipers on your property you know how thick the layers of needles can be. Composted material is always best like Watters Premium Mulch, Absolutely, use a 2-3″ inch layer for best insulation and moisture holding. If you are in the Wildfire Interface, composted mulch or cedar bark products are better, safer choices. Inorganic mulches are made from man-made materials such as black plastic or newspaper. Despite our local concentration of pine forests, rarely is pine straw offered for sale. They form a loose mat and stay put. Pine needles and pine bark should be watched closely in vegetable garden as they can raise the acidic levels of the soil. 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. Thus, there is no harm in using pine needles to mulch shrub borders, flower beds and vegetable gardens. © 2017 Carbon Media Group Agriculture Avoid using leaves collected from under black walnut trees as garden mulch. 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 mulch Pine Straw is the leaves of pine trees and are all carbon. Give the rest away to friends and fellow gardeners in the neighborhood. Too shallow a depth will not control the weeds or help the soil retain moisture. 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. Leaves will decompose fairly quickly, are usually easy to obtain, attractive as a mulch, and will improve the soil once decomposed. Are pine needles good or bad for our gardens? 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. Leaves are a highly recommended vegetable gardening mulch. 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. To reduce blowing of dry leaves, allow to decompose partially. Pine straw is the name given to pine needles when they are used as top dressing mulch. 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. Use it as a ground cover or mulch and to resist erosion. They may interfere with seedbed preparation and may result in soil nitrogen depletion. Your email address will not be published. Pine straw is simply the dropped dry foliage from pine trees. Pine needle straw mulch improves the soil. Sawdust is best used for vegetable garden paths and around permanent plantings. These needles are safe to use as mulch around most plants and especially perennial plants in your garden. 4. Pine needles and pine bark should be watched closely in vegetable garden … If it does not cover the soil fully, you still will have some weeds, and weeding in pine straw is not particularly pleasant. Another plastic is porous to allow penetration of water and exchange of gases between the soil and air. COPYRIGHT ©2020, WATTERS GARDEN CENTER. Also, are pine needles safe for the veg garden? 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. Pine trees drop lots of needles, especially those 50-foot giants! Pine needles: Best as a winter mulch for ornamental beds and shrubs, and excellent for acid-loving ornamentals and small fruits. Cover with an organic mulch, such as sawdust or hay, to hold paper in place. Shop pine needles & straw mulch and a variety of lawn & garden products online at Lowes.com. Excellent for use in pathways and around newly set strawberry plants. Shake and toss pine straw the way you would regular straw, so it forms a fluffy layer. I live in Ensenada, Baja and I’m hoping the pine straw will protect my 6 week 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. Until next week, I’ll see you at Watters Garden Center. Using 2 to 4 layers of newspaper provides good weed control. A layer of leaves, 2 to 3 inches thick after compaction, provides good annual weed control. One layer of black plastic provides excellent weed control. Thanks so much for any information. Baled pine needles are also found in garden centers for use as a mulch. So, the question was posed by a PVFS customer "Can I use pine needles as a mulch for my potatoes?" The thicker the better! 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. Fresh pine needles are covered with a thick, waxy coating which breaks down with a little aging 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. Wood chips are slower to decay than shredded bark, and can be used as a pathway material in raised beds. Here are some of the reasons for using pines needles in wide-row edible gardens. 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. A very thin layer of sawdust, about a 1/4 inch, is useful in starting seeds because it helps keep moisture in. Gutter guards protect my rain gutters, but I still have piles of needles on the ground. However, top dressing, or mulched materials break down so slowly that they hardly make a difference to a soil’s pH. Required fields are marked *, 1815 W. Iron Springs Road Using too much is a bad thing. Since the needles themselves lean toward being acidic, it would seem to make sense that they acidify their surroundings. They stay in place and will improve the soil as they decay. Veggies and Herbs Many vegetables and herbs thrive in the acid-rich soil conditions created by pine needle mulch. Pine trees need some needles at their bases to protect their health. GartenGrl. A layer of compost may be used on overwintering beds of perennials, such as asparagus or berries, to provide nutrients and help protect crowns. Keep the pine needle mulch between 2 and 2 ½ inches deep. The Best Mulches To Use In The Vegetable Garden : Veggie Gardener | Home Improvement blog. One year I ran out of wood chips and decided to try hay. While pine needles don't break down as fast as some other types of organic mulch, they still break down. Pine needles, especially longer ones, tend to “knit” themselves together. Sometimes, pine straw bales contain actual trash (beer or soda cans, wrappers, etc.). You can find this mulch for free in the pine forests, or you can simply buy it from Amazon. Yes, most garden books recommend a 2-3 inch layer around vegetable plants:). Fresh sawdust contains a great deal of carbon and very little nitrogen, and its breakdown requires that microorganisms take nitrogen from the soil. It really depends on what is readily available in your area, and what you are growing in your garden. 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. We all know that nothing is perfect, including pine straw mulch. Avoid hay that is full of weed seed and brambles. 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. Just remember that a 2” layer settles down to a layer of about 1” inch. It’s one of the easiest to find mulches and it’s also pretty cheap. While walnut roots and hulls cause most of the problems, the leaves also contain smaller quantities. Can I use pine needles in an ASPARAGUS bed? Pine needles have a reputation for attracting snakes and chiggers. I’ve already mentioned that availability can be a problem. Pine needles do have their shortcomings, which are the flip side of their virtues. During heavy rain, pine needles tend to stay put and do not wash away making them a great choice for sloped gardens. artichoke plants during this warm weather. Pine needles do not acidify garden soils. Be sure to use a reputable source for your pine needles to avoid this. Most compost, however, provides a good site for weed seeds to grow. 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. 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 6- to 8-inch layer of hay or straw provides good annual weed control. Low Cost: Pine needles are easier to place in the beds and also cost about ½ as much as mulch. A 2-inch layer of sawdust provides good weed control. Both are recommended for vegetable and fruit plantings. Needles breakdown slower than other organic mulch options and they turn a silver/gray color as they age. The pine straw mulch is made from dried pine needles and it’s exceptional for vegetable gardens. What is to be done with all these needles??? My experience recommends putting down a 4” layer of needles. Best to use them as a top dressing on flower gardens, around roses, and places where weed and moisture control are desired. 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. Joey talk about the myth that you can not use Pine needles as mulch Have a garden question send it. Erosion Control: Pine needles are the best solution if your property is on a steep slope. Composted material and bark products don’t burn as easily as pine straw. It may look light and fluffy, but those needles are sharp! 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