Pine Straw as Mulch in Your Garden

pine straw 2

I was reading an old issue of Horticulture magazine and came across a question, “Will applying pine straw to my landscape beds acidify the soil?”

Here is what the article says: “According to a study of mulches in the Journal of Arboriculture, using pine straw can indeed lower the pH of soil. Florida researchers found that a 3.5-inch layer of pine needles decomposed more rapidly than any of the bark and wood chip mulches tested, reducing in depth by half in a single year, and, in the process, lowering the underlying soil pH from 5 to 4.4. Pine needles makes an excellent mulch for acid loving rhododendrons, camellias, and blueberries. When used as a mulch for other plants, a scattering of ground limestone should offset any pH drop. To be sure that the pH of the soil in your garden beds remains at the optimal level, have your soil tested every few years by your local cooperative extension service or other professional testing laboratory.”

I wonder if this was the reason why my neighbor’s roses which I planted fare poorly than the one I have in my yard. Hers was mulched with pine straw by the HOA and mine is with black cedar mulch paid by me. I take care of both beds and they both received the same amount of care except for the mulch. My side looks much better than my neighbor and I could not figure out why. So this must be the reason why.

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

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