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Beginner Vegetables: Pine needles for mulch

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Forum: Beginner VegetablesReplies: 12, Views: 197
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budmans1
Lecanto, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2007
9:02 PM

Post #3341306

I am trying to find info on using pine needles for mulch. I am growing vegetables, roses, various tree's and shrubs. Will this work? I have heard that pine needles can kill some plants.
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


April 1, 2007
8:15 AM

Post #3342491

Have not had any problems with it killing plants. It is slightly acidic and you would need to compensate with lime when using on high pH crops like brassicas. I usually use on blueberries, tomatoes, and melons.
SnappyBob
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 2, 2007
4:30 PM

Post #3347822

As farmer dill said they are very acidic so bare that in mind when using it. I wish I could find a lot of pine needles for mulch as my soil is very alkaline.
budmans1
Lecanto, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 9, 2007
6:29 PM

Post #3372857

Thanks folks for the feedback. I have a steady supply from a very large pine in the back yard. Yall are welcome to come rake some up!
Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)


April 9, 2007
6:38 PM

Post #3372899

Sorry, I clean up almost 5 acres of pine straw and still never have enough. One tree would be useless to me.
1gardengram
Fayetteville, NC
(Zone 8a)

April 10, 2007
9:22 AM

Post #3375070

I use pinestraw all year for mulch, but especially in the winter. I absolutely bury my garden beds in pinestraw and leaves, and then rake the excess off and dispose of it in the spring. We have a lot of acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, so this works well for me.
jeof0411
Evans, GA

April 18, 2007
11:19 PM

Post #3406917

Thanks for the info on this post. This year my garden is in an area that was just cleared after having about 20 years of pine needles and other vegetation decomposing on it. When we cleared the trees and such that were back there the underlying dirt was so rich that it looked like potting soil and had earthworms crawling through it. I would have used it before, but it was under the shade of about 2 acres of pine trees. Now 90% of the trees are gone and I have a wide open garden that gets full sun all day.

I was worried about the soil being too acidic, but it hasn't been a problem so far. My veggies are all taking off so far.
jkehl
Rome, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 18, 2007
11:25 PM

Post #3406927

Hello Jeof,

I've had a similar experience growing veggies in recently cleared forest. The forest knew what it was doing and there are plenty of nutrients there for the veggies to partake of. The key seems to be doing it without aid of a bulldozer or other heavy equipment which compacts the soil and removes the decomposing forest litter.

Jeff

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jeof0411
Evans, GA

April 19, 2007
7:47 PM

Post #3409562

Yeah. Well, my brother used a bobcat or a backhoe or something like that. I am not knowledgeable about machinery. Anyways, he just cleared off the trees and plants and the top layer of pine straw. Then he used the scoop to dig about 1 1/2 feet down into the dirt and drop it back down where my garden was going to be. The result was a nice thick layer of loose rich soil!
jkehl
Rome, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 19, 2007
10:59 PM

Post #3410273

That works too. As long as you leave the organic matter there and don't compact it. I'm planting a lot of blueberries on my land and using a tractor that weighs about 1500 pounds. Seems to work fine as long as I don't drive over the areas I've tilled up with the tractor. The soil is nice and light and rich.

Where I'm doing blueberries, I dig all the topsoil in a 5' wide 'aisle' and pour it on the bed where the blueberries will be planted. The 'aisle' I'll keep tilled with the tractor and the beds I'll keep mulched. My biggest problem with doing this though is there are tons of rocks all through it and I feel like I should be screening them out .

Jeff
1gardengram
Fayetteville, NC
(Zone 8a)

April 20, 2007
8:01 PM

Post #3413042

Unless the rocks are really large, I would think you can leave them alone with your plan for blueberries. Those are very sturdy bushes and should have no trouble "going around". Mine put out so many runners I about have to beat them off with a stick and they started out in pretty bad soil. You are starting yours with good fluffy soil, so they have an added benefit. Are you growing the blueberries for commercial use?
jkehl
Rome, GA
(Zone 7b)

April 21, 2007
3:20 PM

Post #3415524

Hi Gardengram,

Your probably right about the rocks. The first beds I made I spent a bunch of time clearing out as many rocks as I could and using them to line the beds. It looked pretty neat but now it's a major hassle to weed around them...

Yes, the blueberries will be commercial eventually. I'd like to make one of those u-pick places down the road once I get a few acres bearing well.

Jeff
1gardengram
Fayetteville, NC
(Zone 8a)

April 22, 2007
3:19 AM

Post #3417230

Rocks are a pain, no matter what size they are!! Good luck with your berries.

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