Excessive Pine Needles Fall From Tall Pine Tree

organic_bob1April 27, 2011

I have a 40 foot tall pine tree in my front yard, and an excessive amount of pine needles regularly fall from the tree and onto the ground. A wide area under and around the tree has been designated as a resting place for the pine needles.

The main problem is that wind blows the pine needles onto the adjacent lawn and sidewalk. To date, the only "solution" has been to rake and sweep the needles from the lawn and sidewalk.

Small decorative rocks are mixed in with the needles under the pine tree, but they often get covered up as the needles begin to accumulate on top of them. Occasionally, the build-up of needles is removed with a fan rake, but it's hard to remove most of the needles because of the rocks the lie beneath them.

I am considering removing the decorative rocks so that it would be easier to remove all of the pine needles from time to time. But this measure make encourage the wind to blow even more pine needles onto the grass, not sure. A landscape fabric is beneath the rocks and pine needles.

Any suggestions on how to deal with the excessive amounts of pine needles that fall from this pine tree (sorry, I don't know the exact type of pine tree)?

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Dan Staley

Any suggestions on how to deal with the excessive amounts of pine needles that fall from this pine tree

Hire a kid. Hire a needy adult. Removing rocks would ease burden.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 4:25PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I was reading about the decorative rock and the landscape fabric and thinking about how unnatural you were making things and how fighting nature was increasing your work load. Then I noticed your screen name. Looks like a more "organic" approach (no rocks, no landscape fabric, less perfect tidiness) might help.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:10PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Pine needles, not removed, make a great mulch for under pine trees. I have very few weeds pop up under my pines (probably less than just about any other type of tree, now that I think about it). Weed fabric and rock (especially once a little organic material drops down in between the rocks) just encourages more weeds and makes for more work. If I were relandscaping your yard, I'd remove all the rocks and landscape fabric and then go buy some pine straw to put under the pines until more could fall naturally.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:40PM
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As unnatural as it is, the landscape fabric and rocks help to keep the weeds down. Without them, the weeds would be all over the place. The weeds are natural, yes, but desirable, no. There used to be grass directly beneath the tree, but root system from the tree killed the grass, so this unnatural landscaping was created by the previous owner.

This is really a question about landscaping. Some approach that would allow the pine needles to fall under the tree the way they want to, amidst some type of natural landscaping as well under the tree, perhaps.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:47PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I think my solution, then, is to remove the fabric and rocks, and then to put up a six inch barrier around the tree to prevent the wind from blowing the pine needles onto the adjacent lawn and sidewalk.

Also, here is a great article I found on the benefits of tree mulching.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 11:14PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no... you have two solutions for MATURE pines ...

one.. get rid of them .. and solve the needle issue ...

two ... remove the rock.. AND LEAVE THE NEEDLES UNDER THE TREES.. where they have naturally accumulated for millions of years ...

let me ask you ... why are you forcing a preconceived notion of landscape rock under a pine tree ...

pines are conifers .... ALL conifers shed their needles.. generally within 1 to 3 years ... increased by a good drought some years ..

the thought that the situation .. on a 40 foot tree.. is going to get better.. or lessened in the future is problematic ...

landscape fabric is a snakeoil salesman's joke on the gardening world.. a useless waste of money better spent ... as most weed seed is airborne .. so minutes after putting it down.. you have already been defeated ...

roll this around.. if you left the pine needles to build naturally ... they would become a mulch.. a highly acidic mulch ... and reduce your weed problem exponentially ... you are actually defeating the trees attempt to suffocate weed production.. by removing the needles ...

bob.. WAG here ... you are trapped in suburbia ... on a small lot.. with sidewalks and neighbors way to close.. and you are getting frustrated with a pine tree.. that in all reality.. is now becoming the FOREST MONSTER it is meant to be.. if there is any budget.. think long and hard about removal .. you are not going to change its inherent properties.. of growing and shedding needles ... in ITS lifetime ...

otherwise.. its all good exercise ...

good luck


ps: you are stuck in a box .. i am trying make you look outside the box you have created ....

Here is a link that might be useful: check out some of these pix.. you are fighting mother nature.. she ALWAYS wins ....

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 8:54AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

The needles from a 40 ft. pine tree will not all fall directly under the tree. The wind will blow them quite a distance before they hit the ground. Therefore, putting up a barrier won't work. Rake up the leaves and use it to thicken the mulched pine needles around the base of the tree and wet them down good to promote settling. If the needles are thick enough, they will suppress most weeds.
If it's a long needled pine, any shrubs planted under the pine will collect needles in the branches, giving the area an unkempt look.
Get rid of the landscape cloth and get rid of, or bury in needles, the rocks.
Under pines, I like the natural look of pine needles.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:57AM
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mustard_seeds(4 -Onalaska Wisconsin)

Hi Bob!
I agree with the plan to take up the fabric and rocks. I would encourage you to avoid the 6 inch barrier around the tree. It will be hard to mow next to a "barrier" and I think would be more natural to avoid "caging" a big tree. To help prevent the needles blowing onto the sidewalk, have you considered planting some shrubs between the pine and the sidewalk that could serve to block the needles?

Place an ad on craigslist or something for "free rocks..." if you do not have another use for them and surely someone who needs some fill or rocks would be happy to take them off your hands.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 11:00AM
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