christmas tree as mulch good?

compostkateJanuary 9, 2010

Due to cutbacks our town isn't doing the curbside pickup of leaves or Xmas trees this year. I was thinking of hauling some of those abandoned trees home, using the trunks for firewood and chipping the limbs for mulch.

Question: Would mulch made strictly from evergreen trees (likely mostly pines) be a bad thing? For instance, too much acidity or whatever resulting from the one-sided ingredient?

Maybe it would be better used mulching a trail than inbetween my garden rows? Or on a slight slope for erosion control vs. around the tree bases?

Just wondering what everyone's experience and/or opinions were :)

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Lloyd

One year I hauled home tons of chipped Xmas trees. I put some down as mulch on some two year old saskatoon trees in the spring. I had almost a 70% mortality rate on those rows that I mulched. I'm not sure what caused the die off but I won't do it again that's for sure. Always try an experiment first.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:36PM
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gardengal48

I have no explanation for Lloyd's experience, but old Christmas trees make a great mulch and it is a fine way to recycle them. In fact, that curbside recycling of Christmas trees that many municipalities sponsor winds up exactly in that form. Do Google search on "old Christmas tree mulch" and see how many articles you encounter.

You can use the limbs just as-is (cut off, of course) to cover and protect various perennials and smaller plants or you can chip them, use them as mulch or add to your compost. Any type of xmas trees work equally as well. Pines are not as common as xmas trees in WA state (I live there, too) - most are true firs or Doug firs - but pine needles (aka 'pine straw') are a very desirable mulch in the South where they are more common.

There is a common misconception that using conifer trees or needles as a mulch will make the soil or the compost more acidic. This has been proven to have little validity. Applied as a mulch, conifer needles/chips/bark may lower the surface pH slightly but it is not a substantial change and is only limited to the soil surface. And once anything is fully composted, the resulting pH should be near to neutral

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:51PM
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compostkate

thanks for the input.

Gardengal: if i might ask, which part of WA are you in? you'd think I'd know my pines from firs by now, but i don't LOL. I'm elevated ~2200' off the Columbia River.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 5:01PM
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gardengal48

West of the Cascades, Puget Sound region. Most of Washington's cut trees come from farms located here in western WA and in Oregon and they tend to be heavy into the Grand, Fraser and Noble firs as well as the Douglas firs, as the grow very well here and the production times and costs are less than for pines or other conifers.

I have only seen pines offered here as living Christmas trees.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 10:49AM
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