Pine needles - Knowledgebase Question

Huachuca City, Ar
Question by Sallet
March 23, 2010
i have 10pine trees.And over the years I have left the pine needles laying under them to use as mulch.Have noticed alot of branches dying off.i wonder if this was a good idea?

Answer from NGA
March 23, 2010


Pine needles can take a very long time to break down but that's the only caution involved in leaving them under the tree or using them as mulch around your shrubs. The dying branches may or may not be associated with the pine needle build up. After all, in a pine forest no one rakes up the fallen needles and the trees still manage to thrive. You may want to check for signs of insects or disease by inspecting the branches that are dying. Sometimes a population of insect pests can kill an entire branch. If you can't detect anything, take a sample of the dead branch to your local cooperative extension office for help. They can look at the needles and stems under a microscope to check for problems. Take your sample to University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, 1140 North Colombo Avenue, Sierra Vista - (520) 458-8278. Good luck with your pines.

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