You Can Trim Your Garden With Pine Needles

You Can Trim Your Garden With Pine Needles
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    If you live where pine trees are in abundance, the needles that naturally fall to the ground can be gathered up and repurposed.

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That new purpose is as garden mulch, providing a layer of plant protection that will also conserve and evenly distribute water including rain. Even if pine needles are unavailable naturally, you may be able to buy what you need from a garden center, for a low cost yard maintenance option.

Here is how to spread pine needles in your garden:

1. Obtain your needles. Buy or pick up the pine needles you plan to use for your garden. A wheelbarrow can come in handy for transporting large amounts of pine debris or you can use a barrel. Needles are easy to pick up with any rake.

2. Remove unrelated debris. Pine needles may include numerous other objects such as sticks, weeds, pine cones and yard debris that you don’t want in your garden. Sift through your supply and remove all extraneous materials and place that debris with your garden waste.

3. Spread the needles. Avoid burying existing plants in needles as you dump what you have gathered or purchased. Use a rake to spread the needles evenly across the garden, taking care to avoid damaging plants. Pine needles are best used in gardens where plants prefer acid such as with rhododendrons, azaleas, potatoes and most vegetables notes the Colorado State University Extension service.

4. Finish up. With the pine needles even spread throughout your garden, you will need to ensure that all plants are free of encroachment. Your plants will thrive provided that there are two to three inches of buffer surrounding each plant where pine needles are not present.

Gardening Considerations

Pine needles are cheap, easy to put in place and do an excellent job of maintaining soil acidity. Keep in mind that pine needles can be a fire hazard when dry, therefore avoid placing needles close to your home. You can also use pine needles on shady areas of the lawn where grass does not grow. Needles compose slowly, help to reduce soil compaction and should be raked up and replaced once annually.

Apply pine needles in the spring once the ground has warmed up enough to provide active root growth. On the lawn, avoid leaving bare spots where pine needles have been removed. Exposed areas are prone to soil compaction or erosion and should always have some type of protection in place.

See AlsoUse Your Compost Pile All Year

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Categories: Garden Maintenance

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".