[NAFEX] Pine needle mulch in orchard

Eddie Earles jas39a at att.net
Mon Jun 8 16:12:02 EDT 2009

I would strongly advise against using pine needles as mulch in the South or
Mid-Atlantic areas.  Voles love a thick layer of pine needles.

Eddie Earles

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Fruth" <jimfruth at charter.net>
To: "NAFEX" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 11:25 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Pine needle mulch in orchard

> 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
> 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
> 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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