I have recently re located to a site with a small pine forest on the north side of my field. After just assuming that pine needles for mulch added acidity to the soil, I decided to research it. To my delight I have found that there is no real effect on the acidity levels of soil mulched in pine straw, in fact, they help to maintain around a 6.5 ph level. My next concern were the terpines found in the needles that deter germination...it turns out that after they have browned, and the pine scent is gone, so are the terpines. I have began to mulch my veg garden with them and love working with it as a mulch...mainly because 10 minutes of raking results in a pile perfect for a 30'x30" bed. Now, what I would like is to hear from you all about whether or not my research has mis-leaded me or guided me into a really great solution to all my mulch needs! I so respect this community and your opinions, wisdom and experience have become such a valued asset...thanks again!
I've succesfully used pine straw as a mulch in the past - I so wish I had pine trees in my current location! I find they're effective as an attractive mulch, and to some degree, as a slug deterrent. I would like to do a bit of research to find out which variety might grow best in my area and maximize needle production. I've noticed some varieties of pine have longer needles, some drop more in a given year...
This is the direction I am starting to go. I have plenty of pine straw and I have to buy wheat straw.
So that is going away in favor of what is on hand. I have been using pine straw on my paths and around
tomatoes and it is clean and works very well. It is easy to work with as you outlined, no chemicals, no cost
to me and I think it represents a nice way to do away with another outside input.