[NAFEX] Pine needle mulch in orchard
jimfruth at charter.net
Mon Jun 8 11:25:51 EDT 2009
Betsy Hilborn asked, "Anything special about the pine needle mulch?"
Orchards that have grass or weeds around the trees have a potential
problem. When it rains, the vegetation gets the water first and the trees
get whatever is extra. If it only rains a slight amount, the trees may not
get any. In years where rainfall is scarce, the trees experience major
I use pine needle mulch because of one special quality needles have.
Conifer needles tend to be hydrophobic. When it rains, only the uppermost
layer gets wet and the rest of the water passes through the bulk of the
needles without the needles getting wet. With one exception, all other
mulched, that I have tried get thoroughly soaked before any moisture gets
down to the soil. Pine needles take longer to degrade than most other
mulches so I don't need to add more every year. In order to keep annual
weeds from growing, 3" to 4" is required.
The above-mentioned exception is the chips left over from shredding
raspberry canes. This mulch doesn't work quite as well as pine needle mulch
but it does do the job.
Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
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