[NAFEX] pine needles

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Sun Oct 25 09:01:10 EDT 2009

On Oct 25, 2009, at 8:09 AM, Jerrydana5 at aol.com wrote:

>  I had the good fortune  ( I think) of getting a truck load of  
> chipped up pine needles and twigs when the electric company trimmed  
> trees around lines around here. They were glad to dump them on my  
> property.  Would they be good mulch for my blueberry plants?    I  
> have trouble keeping the ph low enough even with sphagnum peat moss  
> and adding some sulfur. I have heard that pine needles and oak  
> leaves are somewhat acid, only to hear from other that this is not  
> true.  Can somebody enlighten me?  Jerry in southern Indiana

Someone on this list has measured the pH of pine needles and says they  
were neutral (or thereabouts).  But they are traditionally used to  
mulch blueberries.  And lots of people on this list agree that  
blueberries like copious organic matter (and are less sensitive to pH  
if the soil is rich enough in organics).

I have never measured my soil's pH.  (Well, I have, but the  
measurement device didn't work, and I gave up.)  I live in New  
England, where the soil tends towards acid, and I have wild  
blueberries in the back.  But I also have (sweet-soil preferring)  
grass, which grows cheerfully as close to my blueberries as I'll let  
it get.  I don't adjust the pH for either - I spread neither sulphur  
nor lime.  I mulch my blueberries very heavily with shredded leaves  
from my "mulching" lawn mower.  They get everything from under the  
pine trees and some additional oak leaves (since there's not much from  
under the pine.)  I fertilize each spring with an acid-plant  
fertilizer (Hollytone tm)  My blueberries appear very happy.

eastern MA, zone 6
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