[NAFEX] Pine needle mulch in orchard

Jim Fruth 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 
stress.
    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.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN  56472
For jams, jellies, syrups and more:
www.jellygal.com
1-877-265-6856 (Toll Free)
1-218-831-7018 (My Cell)





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