Sumo Gardener

Using Pine Needle as Mulch | Know It’s Benefits

Did you know that using organic materials as mulch can help you add nutrients to the soil while keeping weeds away? This is where using pine needle as mulch can help you.  

Get to know more about pine needles and the benefits of using it as mulch.


Where Can You Get Pine Needles?

Pine needles are available freely in places where pine trees are located. They are also very affordable, which is why they are the best choice when it comes to mulching.

For people who are wondering pine needles are the dry foliage that drops from the pine trees. Pine needles can be purchased in bales from 15 to 40 pounds if you don’t have pine trees.

Using Pine Needle as Mulch

As the pine needles are breaking down, they are acidifying the soil slightly, which makes it a perfect landscaping mulch for shrubs, trees, and plants that love acidity.

Some of the best plants for pine needle mulch are evergreens, holly, magnolias, dogwood, ferns, gardenias, fuchsias, hydrangeas, azaleas, and camellias.

Benefits of Pine Needle as Mulch

One of the main advantages of using pine needles is the lightweight that it has compared to bark mulch.

The lighter the mulch, the easier it is for the water to percolate and for it to be distributed quickly.

It is also known to hold erosion down and as well as protect areas that are unstable.

Benefits of Pine Needle as Mulch

Another good thing about using pine needles is that it can break down slower, compared to other types of mulch.

But once it starts to compost, the soil’s nutrient content will then increase. The soil tilth will also be improved with the use of pine needles as well.

Using pine needle as mulch is also good since you no longer need to use any chemicals that are harsh.

It will instead help the soil to be infused with phosphorus, nitrogen, and calcium.

How to Apply Pine Needle Mulch

Before using pine needles, it would be best to wear hand gloves since they can become prickly and difficult to manage without the gloves.

You can only start by removing the ties of the bale and take a handful of pine needles and start shaking it over the soil.

You can apply three inches and add an inch yearly to ensure that the depth is maintained.

How to Apply Pine Needle Mulch

If you are planning to put mulch around your plants, it would be best to apply two to three inches in the soil and up to five inches in areas where it’s dry sandy.

For woody plants, on the other hand, it would be best to keep the mulch three to six inches from the trunk to avoid decay.

Garden beds can be covered entirely, while some of the other available plants can have mulch as well, for as long as the mulch is an inch or two away from the plants’ stems.

When applying mulch, it is best to use it during the fall season to ensure that the soil is protected from the winter.

Using the pine needles in spring can help the tilth to increase, while keeping the soil’s heat and reducing the weeds.

Plants that is Ideal for Pine Needle Mulch

Plants can benefit from using pine needles as your mulch, but knowing the types of plants that will get the most benefits is essential.

For people who don’t know, not all types of plants have the ability to tolerate the soil’s acidity that is created by pine needles.

That is why knowing what great plants to grow is essential.


Berries have the ability to thrive during conditions that are acidic that are naturally created by pine needles, which makes them perfect candidates for helping the soil get the enrichment that it deserves.

Berries have the ability to thrive during conditions that are acidic that are naturally created by pine needles

One of the berries that are ideal for pine needles is the raspberry, which needs a moderate amount of sun and soil that is well drained.

Another is blueberry, which needs a lot of amount of sunlight and soil that can drain excellently.

Of course, strawberries are also a perfect match for pine needles since the soil that is acidic will help the fruits to absorb the nutrients that it needs to grow healthily.

Herbs and Veggies

Herbs and vegetables are perfect for the acidity of the soil that is created by the mulch. 

For people who don’t know, vegetables thrive in soil that has a six point five to seven PH level, which pine needles create.

Herbs and vegetables are perfect for the acidity of the soil that is created by the mulch

Garlic and potatoes can also grow in the soil even if it is winter if you use pine needles. Lastly, onions love it when the soil is acidic besides getting exposed to the sun.


A lot of flowers are perfect for soil that is treated by pine needle mulch. Marigolds that are brightly colored love pine needle mulch while repelling nematodes that are bad.

Zinnias, on the other hand, can grow easily and can quickly blossom. They are also known to cope with sunlight and intense heat easily.

Zinnias are beautiful since they come in different types and colors. You can also add some snapdragon since it matches well with pine needle mulch.

Tips on Using Pine Needle as Mulch

Tips on Using Pine Needle as Mulch
  • You can put down the pine needles any time you please to create a neat and fresh appearance to your soil.
  • Before spreading the pine needles, just make sure that the area is free of weed and clean.

    You can ensure this by applying weed preventer and ensure that you have completed the trimming and pinning of any existing shrubs and trees.
  • It would also be best to spread the needle to three inches of thickness since it will be able to settle after application.

    Also, remember to spread the needle one foot beyond the edge of the bed and finish it by rolling the edges if need.

Now that you know the goodness of using pine needle as mulch, you can now start reaping its benefits by using pines needle mulch for your garden.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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