Pine Needles affect on Roses?

Toolbelt68(7)December 7, 2013

My neighbor's pine tree has gotten so big that it's now dropping tons of needles onto about 10 feet of our yard. In that area is a dogwood tree and two Zephirine Drouhin rose climbers. Should I worry about the needles??? Can they be used as mulch around the base of the tree and roses??


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Pine needles can be used as a mulch & they make a good mulch. They are sold as "pine straw" to be used as mulch in some parts of the US. They used to be accused of acidifying the soil but info now says that they decompose to nearly neutral so not an issue. They are high in carbon so do not mix them in your soil or they will create a nitrogen draw. Just lay them on top like you would wood chips. If you live in an arid part of the country, I've heard that you may not want to use them near a house as they can be a fire hazard.

This post was edited by wirosarian on Sat, Dec 7, 13 at 20:13

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 6:33PM
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We have sandy soil and they will not be worked into the soil. I'll just let them lie where they fall from now on. The tree started off as a Christmas tree and is now 30 feet high and climbing. It's West of us so we get the crop on needles it produces. If they build up to high I'll just move some to another location.

Merry Christmas

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 9:06PM
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I live in the land of Ponderosa pine trees, and I hate those dang pine needles! Right now my entire yard is covered in them. I have to rake them out of the flower beds constantly throughout the yr. They don't really make good mulch. I mean, they will help keep moisture in the area where they are, but they also wick it away from the plants during the summer if left too long. They do not mulch well either. It takes yrs for them to break down. They aren't really beneficial, but they aren't harmful either.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 2:01AM
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Thanks Beth,
I use a blower to blow the needles out of the beds and out from under the dogwood tree. My main worry was that what ever is in them would end up killing the roses or the tree. Looks like I'm safe but will still have to put up with the mess. Our neighbor does not get out much anymore so I don't bother her. Maybe one of these days I'll get up the nerve to ask her to remove the tree. A good wind can blow them down and I'm sure we would get 80percent of it.....

Merry Christmas

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 3:07PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I think they're on the acidic side but like Beth said, they take years to decompose so I doubt they'd be a problem for the roses.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 3:45PM
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I shovel horse manure over them and they break down a little faster that way.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Tool belt, you sound like a nice neighbor.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:18PM
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What I know about roses can fit into a thimble but I do have 30 Zeffy around the property fence that knocks your socks off come Spring time. Came on here to find out how to create more canes as I've never pruned them (15 years old +/- a year or two). Got some great advise. Still getting great advice so thanks everyone.

Kitty, I did pickup a few bags of manure so I'll put that down right over top of the needles, thanks!!

Susan, I believe in the golden rule but I do apply it both ways. It's the 'as you would have them do unto you' part that causes some people who mess with me to have problems..... :-))))
We take another old neighbor to her doctor and pickup her medicine for her so we try.... btw, she is 90 and sharp as a tack!! Beats me in cards almost every time..... hmmm do you think she could be cheating???

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 2:09PM
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With two huge pine trees in my yard, I consider the needles to be free mulch. We rake them up and throw them in the rose beds. They stay put, compress but don't break down and if you're watering your roses adequately, they shouldn't be a fire hazard. They also keep the cats from doing their business in my rose garden so there's really no reason to remove them and go spend hundreds of dollars on some other mulch. Pine needles are so slow to break down, I use them in the bottom of my containers instead of gravel or bark to allow for water to flow through. I also use them at the bottom of my composter for the same reason. When you live in the desert, you don't complain about free mulch falling from the sky.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 1:10AM
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Many rosarians use pine straw as a mulch for roses and no scientific data exists about it's ability to alter soil pH. I'd worry more about the pine roots finding their way into the rose bed. Pine feeder roots will travel great distances underground to find that good rose soil. Use a trenching shovel around your rose bed to 'look' for them. They won't be that deep. Invasive pine roots are absolutely devastating to roses.On the topic of mulches... I actually prefer wood chip mulch, however, to pine straw. It is the ultimate slow release fertilizer.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 5:54PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

In the south, pine straw is used as a mulch for almost everything. It is especially good on hills as it will stay in place and not roll down the hill.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Soooo, what you all are telling me is that instead of worrying about my neighbors pine needles landing in my yard, I should go over and rake her yard to get more of them. Thanks a lot..... just more work for me....grrr..... and I came on here looking for help...... lovely......

Hee hee, Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!

Hmmm, raking isn't such a bad idea after all........

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 7:01AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

HAHA Toolbelt. My pine 'forest' has just gotten to the point where it gives me enough straw to use as mulch. I do have to rake it up though.

In most of my beds, I prefer bark chips, which are also pine. But on hills and around the trees, I'm not going to pass on some 'free' mulch. And raking is great exercise.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 7:31AM
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