[NAFEX] Pine needles not acid!!!
jimfruth at charter.net
Mon Oct 26 12:03:23 EDT 2009
Maybe I should save this letter because I keep repeating it every year
for the benefit of new members:
Every few years I teach a Horticulture class and for the first day of
class I bring a bunch of fresh dry pine needles, a bunch that has been used
as mulch for a year and some nearly composted but still recognizable, along
with a beaker, stirring rod and distilled water and a pH meter.
First I crush the dry needles as finely as I can by hand, place in the
beaker, add the distilled water, stir and let set for a few minutes. Then I
insert the pH meter probe and ask a student to read what it says. "Oh, it's
alkaline," is the usual response. Not very alkaline - pH 7.2 is normal.
When the other two tests are performed, the pH reads 7.0.
I don't do a similar test for Oak leaves but have observed that the soil
pH doesn't change by incorporating the leaves into the soil.
I can't say with certainty that no pine needles are acidic because I
haven't tested them all. I have tested a great many, though.
Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
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