The Q&A Archives: Suitability Of Pine Needle Mulch

Question: I have access to lots of dropped pine needles and have started using them extensively as a general mulch. I read somewhere that pine needles were God's gift to gardeners! Is using them as general mulch okay? Are there plants, shrubs, etc. that they should not be used on?

Answer: In some areas of the country pine needles are baled and sold as mulch, so certainly it is an acceptable material to use and is a relatively long lasting mulch and ultimately a good source of organic matter for your soil. It is excellent to use under acid-loving plants such as strawberries and azaleas. It can also be used as a general mulch, however you might want to check your pH occasionally to make sure you are not moving too close to the acid side of the scale for general plantings. (Based on the soil test results, you would periodically add lime to counteract the acidity. This is a simple thing to do.) If you are growing plants that prefer an alkaline soil, possibly lavender or baby's breath for example, then you might not want to use it in quantity there. Enjoy your new found mulch supply!

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