[nafex] Pine needle mulch

Jim Fruth jimfruth at charter.net
Fri Dec 14 20:54:12 EST 2012

    The University of Minnesota, et.al., teach that pine needles are acid 
but that is totally hogwash, balderdash, horse feathers. etc.  Pine needles 
are no more acidic that most other mulches.
    Before I began testing the pH of pine needles, I had purchased some 
lingonberry plants.  The sales person instructed me to plant them under a 
pine tree adding that the ground would be acidic.  When the plants died, I 
had the soil tested and the lab found it to be slightly alkaline!  When I 
acidified the soil for planting more lingonberries, the pine tree died.
    In a Horticulture class I teach. I advise students to mulch with pine 
needles because most rain water passes through whereas most other mulches 
need to be thoroughly moistened before the soil gets wet.  Another major 
advantage of pine needle mulch is that it takes up to five years for them to 

Jim Fruth
Pequot Lakes, MN 

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