To say pine trees shed a lot of needles would be an understatement. Even if you only have a single pine tree growing in your landscape, it will likely drop a thick layer of needles.
Rather than trying to rake and dispose of them, however, you should consider using them as garden mulch.
As the pine needles decompose, they’ll enrich the surrounding soil with nutrients.
Cover Exposed Soil
If you’re struggling to keep your garden weed-free, try covering the exposed soil with pine needles.
As you may know, weeds typically emerge in areas with exposed soil. If there’s nothing growing in or covering a patch of soil, a weed may emerge.
You can keep weeds out of your garden by covering the exposed soil with pine needles.
Just sprinkle a thin, but complete, layer over the soil to prevent the growth of weeds. The pine needles will block out sunlight, preventing any underlying weeds from growing.
You can also use pine needles to insulate plants in your garden.
During the winter, sprinkle some pine needles around the base of your plants. Assuming you add enough, the pine needles will create an insulative barrier that protects your plants from the cold weather.
Pine needles make excellent plant food.
They contain essential nutrients that, when released into the soil, will stimulate the growth and health of your plants.
The pine needles will slowly degrade, at which point their nutrients will be released into the soil.
To use pine needles as plant food, simply sprinkle a small amount around your garden.
Mix in Compost
Another way to use pine needles as garden mulch is to mix them in compost.
Compost, of course, is organic fertilizer consisting of decomposed ingredients. The ingredients used in compost are often referred to as either “browns” or “greens.”
Brown ingredients, such as pine straw, have higher levels of carbon, whereas green ingredients, such as grass clipping and vegetable scraps, have higher levels of nitrogen and protein.
You’ll still need to add green ingredients to create nutrient-rich compost. An easy and readily available brown ingredient, though, is pine straw.
Although they are evergreen trees, pine trees still shed needles.
Depending on the species, a pine tree may hold its needles for two or three years. Eventually, though, all pine trees will shed their needles.
While you can always rake the fallen needles, another idea is to use them as garden mulch.
Pine needles can be used to protect against weeds, insulate plants, fertilize the soil and even create compost.
The Woodsman Company offers tree planting, tree pruning and shrub trimming, tree removal and stump grinding as well as a tree wellness program.
If we can help with any of your tree care needs give us a call at 512-846-2535 or 512-940-0799 or
Elizabeth Walden says
I have a lot of pine needle and leaf compost in an area that hasn’t been raked in 40-50 years. The area is literally spongy and after raking off t 🙂 e top layer of leads, sticks and pine needles, I have a lot of compost. Where/how can I use the compost?