Pine Needle Mulch

Our 20-acre property is surrounded on 4 sides by various types of evergreens (fir, cedar and a bunch of pines I can’t even identify – I’m working on that). As a general rule, I’m fine with that. I love the privacy of our little homestead, and I love that even in the dead of winter, there is still some green from all the pines. (Growing up on the east coast, I hated how dead all the trees, with their creepy bare limbs reaching up into the cold grey sky, looked in winter.)

BUT.

We have a massive Ponderosa Pine in our front yard that is the bane of my existence.

Whenever we get a stiff wind, I fear this beast is going to come crashing through my living room window (my husband, unlike me, loves this tree and assures me that Ponderosas, unlike many other varieties of pines, have strong, deep roots that can withstand even strong gales – I say time will tell, but for the sake of my marriage I’ve given up this argument).

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Note the normal sized trees in the background. This thing is freaking huge.

And every fall, this enormous tree sheds TONS of needles, and huge cones with giant pointy spikes on them, ALL OVER my front yard.

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I can confirm that these things hurt like hell when you step on them. Or try to pick them up without gloves on.

I hate this damn tree. (See above mention of marriage-saving. Moving on now.)

But we have another issue out here: living in the high desert of eastern Washington, our soil is bone dry. It’s basically sand with rocks in it. Really conducive to gardening, right? Right. So we have a huge irrigation system to water our equally huge garden, and every summer we pump thousands of gallons of water out of our well to keep the garden watered. To cut down on the amount of watering we have to do, we mulch the hell out of everything. Note: buying mulch is not cheap.

Enter pine needle mulch (AKA pine straw). A few weeks ago my husband was researching and came across the interesting fact that pine needles can be used for mulch! They sell this stuff at Lowe’s, and other online retailers! https://www.lowes.com/projects/lawn-and-garden/how-to-use-pine-straw/project

Pine needles are great for acid-loving plants. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/mulch/pine-straw-for-mulch.htm How did I never know this before?

THIS IS A GAME CHANGER.

Now, instead of seeing a front yard full of annoying needles, I see free mulch! I rake it up with joy instead of frustration.

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I raked up wheelbarrow full . . .
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after wheelbarrow full of awesome free mulch!
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Building a stockpile of pine mulch (all the spikey cones will be left to compost and get crunched down before we use them, but use them we will)
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Row of yellow onions mulched with pine needles

I am a happy camper. 🙂

*Have you used pine needles – or any other non-bark material – as mulch? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!*

4 thoughts on “Pine Needle Mulch

  1. We use pine mulch especially around blue berries, roses and all of our young pine trees.
    The size of that tree is amazing – I would just make sure my homeowner insurance is paid up and enjoy it’s beauty. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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