Using Pine in Your Garden: How to Make Use of Pine Parts for Good

Introduction

When the times comes, nature gives us a little too much of those pine needles or pine straw and pine bark. Unlike other thin and soft leaves in the garden, pine straw and pine park are a headache to gardeners. Using pine straw and bark is a solution for this insomnia.

The problems with pine needles and pine barks

They are hard to remove

The long, thin, and round pine needles are not easy to clean and collect. There is no more luck with those pin barks. They simply slide through the rake’s tines. Your bare hands will not love the experience with those tough needles.

The cleaning of pine straw requires more efforts and tips than with other leaves. But if you have some pine trees in your garden, you have no choice but to defeat those needles and bark. For other tree leaves, you can find some cleaning solution in this article.

Pine needles in the wood
Photo credit: Chrisbkes via Foter.com / CC BY

They cover than soil from the sun, water, and air

If you can’t clean the layer of pine straws and barks on your garden surface, wait and see those spaces turn into bare soil. The fallen parts from the pine trees form a thick barrier that prevents the water, sun, and air from reaching the ground. It is hard for seeds and plants to grow through that layer.

They decompose in a much longer time than other leaves

Even if you can collect those pine straws and barks, you will have a problem dealing with them. These two take a really long time to decompose into compost. If you plan to make a compost pile from them, prepare to wait a much longer time than compost from others.

Using pine in your garden – How to do it

Using pine needles and barks is not easy, but there are always solutions for everything. Here are some suggestions of how to deal with those tough things.

1. Using Pine Needles as Pathways among Vegetable Beds

Place pine needles in various layers on the pathways of your garden. The weather and movements will compress them into a dense but soft surface. Using pine needle as paths cover is easier to clean, cheaper to form, and better for the soil than any kind of materials.

They also prevent the week from growing. Even if any weed is strong enough to break through the pine needles barrier, you can soon notice and remove it. The pine needles will protect the paths between raised beds from weed.

2. Using Pine Barks as Soil Amendments

Pine barks size and pH are suitable to apply in the plantation of some plants like tea plants and blueberries. With the pH of 4.0 – 5.0, pine barks become perfect soil amendments for tea trees and blueberries. They will lower the pH in the soil to the level that tea and blueberries can grow.

The size of pines barks creates ideal drainage and air space in the soil for those two types of plants to grow. Check out how to use pine park in growing tea plants here and blueberries here.

Pine barks in the pin tree Photo credit: Dendroica cerulea via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

3. Using Pine Straw and Barks to DIY Mulch

Plants like strawberry need a layer of mulch to keep the fruit off the ground, clean and dry. Mulches are also necessary to keep the soil moist and water from evaporating under the sun. With their characteristics, pine straw and barks are perfect as mulch in the garden.

A mulch of pine needles and barks is useful to protect your raised beds in winter. A 3-inch or thicker layer of pine straws and barks will keep the plant roots safe from sudden temperature drop in winter. They will be able to stay active under the ground and survive until the spring.

This is how pin straws become mulch for tomatoes: 

4. Using pine straw and barks to make compost

It takes time to make compost from pine straw and barks. While most of the composts need at most six months to be usable, compost from pine straws and barks needs some more time. Just remember to keep them really moist.

The compost from pine needles and barks is pH neutral and contains a lot of nitrogen. If you don’t want to wait true long, check out this compost making instruction with faster decomposing ingredients.

Conclusion

Pine and its parts have various application in our life. What I suggest above is some ways to use the pine needles and barks in the garden. But you can find many uses for them outside the garden, in the house.

One suggestion from me is that you can make tea from the green needles the same way that you do to mint leaves. Pine needles contain five times as much Vitamin C as in a lemon.

Pine needles are excellent crafty material. You can make a doll, outdoor mattress, and pillows from them as well. They are cheap, available, and fragrance. Just make sure the needles won’t hurt you when you lie on them.

Pine needles baskets Photo credit: Himalayan Trails via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Pines in general and pine needles and barks, in particular, are not annoying. They are gifts from nature as many other trees and their parts. How we utilize them makes the difference.

Pine needles and barks are cheap (or free if you collect them yourself). But with a little bit of patience, you can turn them into something valuable for your garden. If you have any suggestion on how to use pine needles and barks, please share with us. We love to hear from everyone to learn more.

James G. Craig
 

James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

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