[NAFEX] Pine needles not acid!!!
nottke1 at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 26 14:00:53 EDT 2009
As a retired chemist, I appreciate your experiments and respect your results.
But as a gardener, I have observed that "acid-loving plants", such as holly, azalea, and blueberry all thrive well when mulched with pine needles (though blueberry does even better with pine sawdust).
I conclude that "acid-loving plants" like pine needles (and pine sawdust) for some reason other than acidity - like maybe the terpenes or phenolics.
>From: Jim Fruth <jimfruth at charter.net>
>Sent: Oct 26, 2009 12:03 PM
>To: NAFEX <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Subject: [NAFEX] Pine needles not acid!!!
> 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.
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