[nafex] Pine needle mulch

david liezen chandos49 at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 15 21:24:02 EST 2012

Fascinating; Jack and Red Pine, I gather from the range maps of pine species in my old tree guide, are what most likely you find in Minnesota. The soil here in Spokane is both basalt and granitic in origins, and I supplement the ground where the blueberries were planted with peat moss, just to be safe. I have never had it tested; think it worth trying next year just because of this post.
Jim: five years sounds about right for breakdown of pine needles. I wouldn't be surprised if ponderosa needles lasted even longer. Most of our moisture comes in winter, so decomposition takes ages.
Dave Liezen

> From: jimfruth at charter.net
> To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 19:54:12 -0600
> Suwhat you bject: [nafex] Pine needle mulch
> 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
> breakdown.
> Jim Fruth
> Pequot Lakes, MN
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