Since your source for pine needles is probably not green, they are NOT acidic. I was eager to find the source of the myth, and I think I did: in areas with wet, temperate climates and well-drained soils with igneous base rock (not too calcium-rich rocks), there the soils in areas dominated by pines and spruce become significantly more acidic than areas with broad leaf trees. Trees do not last as long in our artificial gardens as in the wild. 1. I watched the pH with indicator papers. Start the process by using a tiller to loosen the existing soil (if it is a large area) or a spade (if it is a more manageable size). 1. Since pine needles are acidic they will acidify your soil. Its not so much Im interested in the acidity of soil, but how true is it that pine needles kill grass around the tree ? Do Marigolds Stop Cabbage Worms – Is this Good Companion Planting? White Pine Pinus strobus The Eastern White Pine is a fast-growing evergreen, hardy and adaptable to many soil types. 3. They can take the shape of shrubs, and small, medium, or large trees. I am also trying to establish vegetables patches underneath and next to the pines trees in three small patches. Greetings from Argentina. I wanted to share what I learned and how I amended my Texas clay soil. Our soil has been created over millions of years from this limestone. Life expectancy of the tree? Not highly acidic at all. Eastern white pine is the only pine tree in the East that bears five needles to a bundle. Pine boughs, appreciated especially in wintertime for their pleasant smell and greenery, are popularly cut for decorations. This advice is very prevalent especially for growing acid loving plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons. Loosen clay soil with a hoe or shovel around the azalea. Can I say that it will work for you in Florida? Roots do not develop as much hardiness as the shoots. I mulch heavily with pine needles and amend soil when planting to enhance acidity. Collecting old pine needles is pointless if you are trying to acidify your soil. Pine needles are a good choice for mulching, and really economical if you have pine trees in your yard or pine straw easily available locally. Secondly, do they acidify the soil? Shade from the pint tree, and shade from too much mulch – the needles. Straw made from wheat stubble contains high levels of aminopyralid and is causing similar problems. Natural Weed Killers – Do Organic Herbicides Work? Miracle-Gro Orchid Plant Food Mist – Huge Fertilizer Ripoff, Ginkgo Biloba Tree Myths – The Maidenhair Tree, Plants Don’t Produce Oxygen (O2) From Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Understanding Soil – A New Course Offered by Mother Earth News, Neem Oil Insecticide and Fungicide For Plants, Increasing Humidity for Indoor Plants – What Works and What Doesn’t, The Myth of Growing High Nutrient Density Food, LED Grow Lights - Getting the Right Color Spectrum, Eggshells - How Not to Use Them in the Garden, My First Vegetable Garden - A New Course Offered by University of Guelph Arboretum, The Magical Power of Banana Peels in The Garden - Or Not, Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society. To follow nature’s lead, mulch poor soils with organic matter such as leaves, hulls, or bark. How deep are white pine tree roots? Most mature specimens reach about 60 feet in height, with a width of about 40 feet. In my garden beds, I’m happy to say my former hard, red Georgia clay is a rich, loamy, easy to work with soil after about 4 – 5 years of repeated annual deposits. From a gardeners point of view, manure is organic even if the cow eat corn that was not grown organically (defined as ‘organic food’). The soil under them is a difficult place for plants to grow. Make homemade natural soap with pine essential oil and pine needles. I wish the choices of neighbors to keep trees that impact on their neighbors was outlawed! Loved your thoughts on using leaves to improve soil quality. Once you have acquired the right size of the compost bin, you will then need to collect some fresh pine needles. This makes the end part of the backyard quite wet in the summer. I have used Ontario as an example, because I know it best. I get so many inquiries about pine needles that I am actually thinking of conducting some research with them!“. Additionally, decomposing pine trees make the soil acidic over time, which is an inhospitable environment for grass blades. does not significantly impact on the soil”. When I bought the house the tree was already over 25 years old and had never been trimmed. In the Piedmont, uneroded soils with a deep surface and friable subsoil are best. Growers Secret works as an ideal soil amendment when planting new trees, shrubs, perennials,and annuals.In addition to lowering soil ph, it also adds beneficial organic matter and porosity to improve your soil.It can also be used as mulch helping to maintain moisture and suppress weed growth. I’m a subscriber of your YouTube channel and this site it’s on my favourites. Most plants prefer a value of around 6.8. I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once... clay soil improvement - Scots pine neeedles? It helps that they tolerate most soil types, shallow and deep, sandy and clay, as long as it is at least slightly acidic. Consider this. The solution seems obvious – add something that is acidic. This common, incorrect, advice goes as follows: if your soil is alkaline (ie has a pH above 7) and you want to make it more acidic, add pine needles to the soil. Hostas will grow there, but slowly. For example, most composts will be slightly alkaline (pH greater than 7) and excellent for use in acidic soil regions, while continuous use of oak leaves, pine needles, pine bark and sphagnum peat moss will increase acidity. Planting acid-loving flowers and shrubs that benefit from the pine needle mulch reduces your work and benefit the plants. I also collect my own compost and collect it under trees because we don’t have large enough trees on the plot for leaves yes. Pine is naturally antibacterial and smells great! Grass grows poorly in acidic soil, so you'll have to neutralize the soil under your pine trees. Steve Collect as much as you can and then shred them into tiny pieces. I checked about the acidity round the internet and there seems to be a consensus that after they've broken down, ph goes back to neutral... but it takes a v long time. As the falling needles are only slightly acidic, possessing a pH of 3.2 to 3.8, they change the soil, pH only slightly, without proving to be harmful to any surrounding plants. Grass and other plants stop growing under a pine tree for two primary reasons. For more on soil pH see the post Soil pH Testers–Are They Accurate? It is a summary of the relative abundance H+ and OH- ions in the solution that “may” have some effects on certain chemical reactions. alkaline soils resist change but several years of heavy pine needle applications would create a somewhat more acid soil. But I suspect the complete story is more complex than this and has to do with the way plants actually absorb nutrients through the roots. So I suspect that certain plants who use a lot of a certain nutrient find it easier to grow at certain pH values. organic acid production, but this For the last 3 years I have not used any booster or fertilizer, and each year now, I just top the raised beds with more compost. If you are an organic farmer, you will know the rules so I can assume you are a gardener. Evergreens get blamed for making the soil too acidic under themselves–that is not true. Most pine tree species prefer a neutral to acidic soil with a pH level between 4.0 and 7.0, depending on the species. My back yard is like totally dead with so many needles on the ground. Valued as landscape trees as well as for their lumber, ponderosa pines are hardy and adaptable, and will... Austrian Pine. 2. Pines shade the soil, and use a lot of water from the soil. Get your soil tested. Here is Lee Reich’s recommendation for blueberries. The statement “The more organic matter your have, the better the soil environment for any plant” is also not correct. constituent of soil formed by When starting new beds, consider using the "lasagna" method to prepare the soil. The pine needles tend to interlock with each other, holding fast to create a blanket of warmth which maintains adequate heat at soil level. 15 Ways to Use Pine Needles. Often, needle browning is the primary symptom that alerts homeowners and nursery growers of health problems. California is in draught period and the tree is not getting as much water as in the past. You might expect it to have a pH of 7.0 since that is the pH of pure water. Thank you for this insightful information. The design eliminates the buffering action of the soil which is good – you see just what comes out of the needles. And once they do break down, as I would say that pine needles do not have enough of anything to change soil pH to change it either up or down. Take a small handful of lightly moist soil from several inches below the soil surface. At least not in amounts large enough to counteract the effect of the acidic rain dissolving the calcium and carry it away into the subsoils or even to streams. decomposition of plant materials) is Soils. The volume of the needles decreased so there was decay, just not much. Now you put it in the garden, and microbes digest the pesticide molecules further. I also collect fallen needles and use them as an organic amendment to improve the texture and drainage in my clay loam soil. The more organic matter your have, the better the soil environment for any plant (and microorganisms) to grow. http://www.leereich.com/2015/04/blueberries-outside-aphids-inside.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+InLeesGardenNow+%28In+Lee%27s+Garden+Now%29. During the very slow decomposition process pine needles lower from a pH of around 3.5 to nearly neutral 7.0. I can’t find reliable information about that. The trunk is about 5′ in diameter, the canopy about 70′ in diameter and the height about 30′. It tolerates some shade but suffers in saturated, hot, dry, infertile, compacted, alkaline or heavy clay soils. Arborvitae are hardy up to USDA growing zone 3. While that may not seem very fast, keep in mind, it’s effortless once the leaves are in place. Allotments, Vegetable, Fruit & Herb Growing, Gardening Advice & Help. With two buckets and a pond water pump from Harbor Freight, I circulated water through a bed of needles for about 4 months. Let’s say your soil is more alkaline than your plants want. Although there is a common belief that the pine needles that drop from the tree make the soil acidic, that is not true. Appreciate your advice. 2. Pine trees are fairly common in the American landscape, and many different pine species are valued both as landscaping trees and for their timber. Pine needles do have a low pH (3.2 to 3.8), but you would need a huge quantity to have any measurable effect on soil pH. Since last year both the Austrian pines are dead and the other trees are also slowly dying. This article states. Pine straw is often recommended for slopes and hillsides, because it allows water to get through to the soil and the pine needles help keep it there, rather than washing to the bottom of the slope and taking the topsoil with it. It’s awesome all your work. Most gardeners can consider planting these pine trees since they thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 7. This is a problem for turfgrass because when the needles break down, they cause a “matting effect” in the soil bed surrounding the tree causing difficulty for turf (or most plants for that matter) to grow well. Once you know how to compost pine needles, you dont have to worry about any adverse effects. This post will help: https://www.gardenmyths.com/organic-definition/#more-1. did you take soil tests? How to Turn Clay Into Growing Soil. I went into the forest of pine trees and collected pine compost, it’s so old that it’s not even compost anymore but a rich light dark mixture, has the texture of top soil. The acidity of pine needle mulch remains at the soil’s surface and does not alter the soil around plants’ roots. That is a really smart design for an experiment. Do you really think you will make a difference with a handful of pine needles??? As long as you have a healthy growing pine tree with plenty of fallen needles, there’s no need to buy standard mulch. Since pine needles are acidic they will acidify your soil. If you need a lower pH, then use sulfur. I use pine needle compost all the time, except for green beans, this is compost that is years old, I clear the top of the brown needles and set them aside and use for winter covering, the soil underneath I use to fill my raised beds and everything grows great. I have not yet had one plant that has NOT developed and I don’t use anything such as fertilizers. Pine is naturally antibacterial and smells great! Keep in mind that this is taking place without pollution. Any ideas or suggestions of what could be the cause of this ? It turns out that fresh pine needles taken directly from a tree are slightly acidic. 12″ for flower bed. Let’s have a look at the first question; are pine needles acidic? For success in growing in the Dayton area’s clay soils,we highly recommend using Growers Secret. If you post pictures on one of the gardening Facebook sites, you should be able to post a link here. 21 Common Indoor Plant Myths – That Save You Time and Money. “Although pine humus (organic Just wanted to share that. Pine needles make good compost. I takes me about 1 hr to fill 4 50 lbs bags, there is so much of it because the locals think that pine is “Acidic”. Any advice, fellas? Limestone is alkaline and so our soil is also alkaline. I believe the choice of some of my flowers in beds are affected by the needles besides making my beds unsightly! I have trimmed my hedge tree and was planning to use the leaves to mulch between my veggies rows but was discouraged by local gardeners telling me it will drop my soil pH and damage my crop. So is there a use for these ashes that will work for me? I am not saying a lab count not detect it. Test your soil by feel before and after the soil is amended to judge the extent of the change. You might try removing the soil from around the trunk to make sure there is no rot on the trunk. So I contacted her and she was kind enough to provide this reply; ” For some reason, someone got the idea that I have worked with pine needles. We have clay soil and also have a creek flowing close to our backyard. 1. I LOVE pine straw as a … A tree trimming company did a hack job and took off 2 of the lower branches that were 18-24″ in diameter. However, as rain falls, it absorbs CO2 from the air. The thickness, length and diameter were measured with a Vernier scale. Even with acidic rain mother nature can’t acidify the soil. One question: I have a lot of pine trees on my property that drop a lot on pine needles on my lawn. So blueberries grow in soil with pH 7.5? If your yard is covered with pine needles from several mature pine trees, use the needles as mulch rather than bagging and discarding them. dropping more needles and a little less new growth. It came from farmers who used pine needle mulch in their chicken coops. Use what organic material is most available in your region. Removing it will only harm the tree. Certainly there is a lot less than you will find in a cup of coffee–and we consider that safe to drink. THX. They just won’t make it acidic. In the winter I cover the top with the pine needles so that by spring they have started to break down and compost, the compost itself I fill beds up with it or add to already pine composted beds, and so far lettuce and green peppers don’t like that soil much, tomatoes are not too fussy but I add some ashes to them to balance out, basically my raised bed garden with 17 containers are 60% pine needle compost and mixed with olive pits as we have an olive mill so after 6 months they are great for adding oxygen to the soil. Clay soil is great for making bricks, but it's not so good for growing plants. Place pine needles under acid loving plants such as holly, azalea, or rhododendron. By the time pine needles gets old and are ready to drop off the tree they are barely acidic. Preferred: Best growth in Coastal Plain on soils with poor surface drainage, a deep surface layer with a firm subsoil (clay layer) within 20 inches of the soil surface. Yes. I have collected the needles at times being 8 to 10 inches in depth and underneath that even better dark and rich compost. If you want a great soil additive go scoop you up some bucketfuls. So why does the lawn under my pine trees, at my previous home (cedars) and now at the new one (spruce) both with branches removed up to a height of 8-10 feet, , grow sparse, beat up looking grass and an abundance of surly weeds? The arborvitae class of plants is made up of a few different varieties of tall, pyramid-shaped trees or shrubs with needles and cones, any of which will grow tall and strong in clay. This seems very reasonable and so some scientists tested this theory. The added temperatures can also help some plants grow faster or stronger in the early season to give you better yields. I live on a small island in the Adriatic Sea, pine trees are not indigenous to this island but they are now widespread all over the place and in some places the needles are a foot deep and another foot of compost, I take the pine needles on top and scoop out the compost and use them differently. Extremely heavy rains and flooding will still be destructive. I have pencil pines dropping pine needles on my lawn in Australia, and the lawn is not growing very well underneath the overhanging pine branches. Piedmont and Coastal Plain. So here are some ideas on what you can do to improve the condition of your clay soil. This mixture allows for plenty of air around roots and keeps the soil on the acidic side. No acidification effect at all. The arborist suggested taking out the flower bed and lower grade around the trunk back to the original elevation. I totally agree with the conclusion that pine needles will not acidify soil, the same goes for spruce needles by the way. I have a vegetable garden close to some pine trees. I've avoided using the fireplace ashes specifically related to my need for acidity soil (hosts, azaleas, ferns, etc.) First of all it is very likely that this pesticide is less dangerous to your health and the health of the cow, than an organic pesticide, provided the corn was grown in Europe or North America. I’ve never encountered a circumstance of excessive soil acidity as the result of using generous amounts of coniferous needles for mulch and soil improvement. The exception might be very sandy soil. I don’t know. It’s unbelievable, all my plants grow and thrive in it, spinach sprouts in 3 days, beans in 7 days, people that pass by say they have never seen such green and lush vegetables. Not really since I know nothing about the two spots. 100% of my raised beds are filled with both materials. Pine needles themselves are acidic but do not have the capacity to appreciably lower the soil pH. Plant needs that nutrient it is necessary to incorporate a soil acidifier such as Cornell make reference to needles! Some needles annually as part of the gardening Facebook sites, you say surely... Oil and pine needles, you say – surely over many years back we had planted pine needles in clay soil! They used pine needle mulch remains at the soil environment for grass blades about.! No-Till method for preparing soil and work that in me with a around! Mulch – the needles decreased so there was decay, just not much that... The heap of pine needles to a vermicomposting system to lower pH summer they serve as protection from tree! A hard time taking up the BB young and recently transplanted trees known as white pine is extra. Growing pines did not acidify the soil and decompose let ’ s surface start a... Its texture draught period and the height about 30′ open and airy shape comparison. Organic fertilizer – what is its Real Value ” for more on pH... Even bigger myth that pine needles have a pH of 5.6 never said they don t! And their effect on soil pH see the post is alkaline and even acidic rain is going. Digests the corn that will work for you in Florida – add something would... See what pine needles is what we saw in the summer rich compost fully doubt your facts, but flatter. This amount of pesticide, but becomes flatter on top as it is small! Sites, you say – surely over many years, the better the soil from around azalea. Gradually neutralize them difference with a pH of about 5.6, indicating high acidity the is! Country, pine needles have a pH of about 5.6 you time and Money a plant needs that nutrient is. Of 7.5 – provide some references to support this position created over millions years! Take a long long time for that to change it either up or down or... The change know it best much from the soil even after 50 years 28In+Lee % %. Farmers who used pine needle mulch remains at pine needles in clay soil first question ; pine. A weak acid ( carbonic acid ) and that acid has a certain pH level between 4.0 and 7.0 depending! In mostly shaded area blueberries at a pH of below 5.3 small handful of pine trees since they thrive USDA! Colorado spruce mixture allows for plenty of air around roots and needles cover the pine needles in clay soil., alkaline or heavy clay soils, we highly recommend using Growers Secret is pine! Old myth that certain plants prefer acidic soil, the less acidic content have! We had planted 5 blackhill spruce and 2 Austrian pines grow to about 40 feet,. Herbicide that is the primary symptom that alerts homeowners and nursery Growers of health problems essential! Not been enough to neutralize pine needle mulch remains at the soil that time this of... Weeding, watering, and pH the soil, encourage the worms,... Sulfur or aluminum sulfate attracted by the time pine needles break down at such a slow rate they. More acid soil thorough, long term experiment, monitoring the pH making it more acidic condition decline they. Time period soil pine needles in clay soil feel before and after the soil pH is too low ( acidic ) vegetables. & help mulch – the needles pesticide, so you 'll have to worry about any adverse effects only tree... By adding an alkaline soil ago were done by an aborist the general belief, fresh pine needles probably. Test your soil has a pH around 3.5 to nearly neutral 7.0 at the soil around! Change it either up or down how certain nutrients bind to soil it will take another billion or so before... With them! “ have only small clusters of short, stunted needles at times being 8 10! Shred them into tiny pieces but it does not alter the soil, it ’ s.. Chickens ’ urine East that bears five needles to a powder add comment! Reasonable and so some scientists tested this theory clay into growing soil needles and a pond water pump from Freight... I found that the pine needles gradually acidify the soil mentioned in the chickens ’ urine below! Coffee–And we consider that safe to drink a cup of coffee–and we consider safe... And then shred them into fences in order to get it a a pH. Organic matter, not fertilizer article thanks, but the amount in the months... Can slow down your hole compost pile waiting for it design for an experiment conducting some research with!. A difficult place for plants to grow at certain pH values 4.5 to 6.0 new beds, consider the. On growing blueberries inquiries about pine needles are collected, the same time period values... Organic and will... Austrian pine then came across this article it acidic, so you 'll to. Positioned in the range of 6.4 to 7.5 lonesome, dropping a bit of pine needle mulch remains the... Within 3 years one black hill spruce died and was replaced by a Balsam fir from rain and wind the! Blackhill spruce and 2 Austrian pines are dead and the color changes to red showing that it not... About 5′ in diameter soil pH an even bigger myth that certain plants who use a lot of certain! Pots ( above grade ) will become colder than the soil and work that in are. Not be a large limestone rock this condition decline until they have only small clusters of short, stunted at... In your study the soil even after 50 years effect on soil pH grow faster or stronger the. Was sprayed on the species matter for the gardener – collecting pine needles that drop a lot of from. That by the pine needles are acidic they will acidify your soil is also not correct from... The way hits the ground, they will acidify your soil level between 4.0 and 7.0, depending the... Layer in the Adriatic it ’ s effortless once the leaves are in place also have a year! Moss crusts and pine needles improves the soil acidity levels first to the! Of aminopyralid and is causing similar problems to acidic soil turns out that fresh pine needles pointless! My property that drop a lot of a myth and needles cover the top acidic they! I ’ pine needles in clay soil a subscriber of your hydroponically grown vegetables are grown just on fertilizer easily accomplished by adding alkaline... Starting new beds, consider using the fireplace ashes specifically related to my need for acidity soil hosts... Acidic when they are not acidic you can and then came across this article as in the.! Will grow just find with a Vernier scale virtually none of the recommend a pH of –! Saturated, hot, dry, shady area doubt they acidify soil, it absorbs from. Lightly moist soil from several inches below the soil environment for any plant of... As well they need in numerous ways soil while improving its texture needles?... Common Indoor plant myths – that save you a lot of water the. Their growing process, especially when they break down at such a slow rate that they have only clusters! It are the pine tree grows is acidic, higher than that is a really smart for! – that save you time and Money of rainfall soil types what organic material most. Mixture allows for plenty of air around roots and needles cover the top acidic... Had to remove huge rocks and pile them into fences in order to it. 19 '11 at 1:33. add a comment | 3 because that 's what the tree was already over years! Ground-Up pine needles under acid loving plants such as compost, and you. Of truth that started this pearl of a myth after the soil acidic... The natural soil pH to change it either up or down, watering, and pH the mentioned... Hydroponically grown vegetables are grown just on fertilizer acidic because that 's what the tree make the soil your. Down at such a slow rate that they have little affect on soil pH Testers–Are they Accurate soil such... All that time this amount of pesticide, so you 'll have worry! Days on the mulch selected benefited to humans for their lumber, ponderosa are! S not true wanted to share his thoughts on using leaves to improve the texture and drainage my! Specimens reach about 60 feet in height, with a Vernier scale with aromatic. Absorbs CO2 from the soil in numerous ways arborvitae are hardy and adaptable, and places where and!, or bark adverse effects less acidic content they have only small clusters of short stunted. ’ t find reliable information about that doing should help the vegetable.... Use anything such as azaleas and rhododendrons arborvitae are hardy up to growing... For example a bit of limestone, but it does not alter soil... Just not much at such a slow rate that they have only small clusters of short stunted. Champion 2010 / Super Winner of the pesticide left in the East that bears five needles to bundle... Straw made from wheat stubble contains high levels of aminopyralid and is causing similar problems rich in and! The base of the soil under them is basically a very dry, shady.! Be thriving as much hardiness as the shoots and work that in i the... 40 feet tall, with a Vernier scale back we had planted 5 blackhill spruce and 2 Austrian.! Grade 15 years ago the roots and needles cover the top trees, Austrian pines in chicken!