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Mowing Pine Needles, what is the best way?

Pine trees are a good way to enrich the greenery in your lawn, which is why they’re also known as evergreen trees. Despite their beauty, they drop needles, and because of the shape and hardness of the needles, they’re not carried away by the wind; therefore, they can build up piles if not dealt with.

Mowing pine needles, also called mulch mowing, is beneficial to the health of your lawn. After a long year of greenery on your pine trees, the leaves turn brown and fall from the trees. As the year passes, the older needles become less efficient and don’t produce enough energy, so these needles turn brown and fall off the tree, being replaced by new needles.

Mowing Pine Needles, what is the best way?

In general, pine needles can be mowed using any standard lawnmower. To mow the pine needles into smaller pieces, you should use a mulching blade that has a groove to shred the needles. Because of the shape of the pine needles, they are difficult to mulch mow so. You will need a mower with a bag. Using a blade with the bolt-on blade wing extension is helpful when mowing pine needles. Before moving, make sure your bag is clean to allow enough air to flow through to the needles in the bag because the pores in the material get blocked if the bag is not ventilating correctly.

Through this article, you will learn how to take care of your lawn by mowing pine needles effectively. You will also learn the benefits pine needles can provide to your lawn if you mow them instead of raking and throwing them away. This article will also help you in learning many other ways to get rid of pine needles so that they don’t harm your lawn.

Pine Needles on Grass

There are many powerful mulching mowers on the market today. You can use your conventional mower if you use specially designed blades suitable for mulching and mowing pine needles. A few pine needles will not affect your lawn, but as soon as they begin to pile up, it’s important to remove them before they cause harm. These needles can absorb turf, prevent sunlight from reaching the grass blades and reduce air circulation, which can cause grass diseases.

As soon as the pine needles start to gather on the grass surface, their weight prevents the grass from growing well. The pine needles block the sunlight from the grass, which makes the soil wet, which can cause turf roots to rot if the soil stays moist enough. So, it’s best to do something about the needles before the rain comes and turn the dry needles into a soaked mat. Soaked needles won’t cut well with a mower.

Mowing pine needles can be done with a standard lawnmower that has a mulching blade attached. Mulching the pine needles in your lawn is even easier than blowing them away with a leaf blower. If there are an excessive amount of pine needles, use the excess mulched needles in your garden beds if you have any. This helps your lawn and beds by preventing weed invasions and results in a healthier appearance.

Mulched pine needles can also be very harmful to your lawn if you’re not attentive when placing the mulch. Mulched needles can be harmful to your trees and plants if placed against a tree trunk or shrub. Avoid piling the mulched needles more than 2 to 3 inches in your garden bed. Leaving the mulched needles under the pine tree will provide nutrients for the tree.

Most people believe that pine needles are acidic to your soil because it decreases the pH. This is false. When the pine needles are green and still on the trees, they are acidic to your soil, but once they are dead and dry after falling from the tree, they are neutralized by the soil and microbes. The mulched pine needles can prevent weeds from damaging your lawn and provide the soil with enough moisture and aeration.

Before mowing, it’s necessary to raise the height of your mower. It will improve the ability of your turf to compete with trees for water and nutrients. Never let a thick layer of pine needles pile up on your lawn, mow it regularly to allow the desired amount of sunlight, water, and air to reach the grass so that your lawn stays healthy.

The decomposition process of pine needles is slow, so accumulating them on your lawn can affect the growing condition of your grass. Unlike leaves, pine needles don’t decompose easily, so you can use the mulched pine needles around trees or bushes where you don’t want the grass to grow. Multiple rainy days and your wheelbarrow will compress them into a thick mat. It will help make weeds more noticeable because of the brown color of needles, allowing you to remove them quickly.

Effect of Pine Needles on Grass

Although pine needles can provide benefits to your lawn, an excessive amount can harm the health of your grass. Since the acidic level of pine needles is not very high, they can be very damaging to your grass if left unattended. Because of these reasons, it is essential to mow the pine needles:

  • Sunlight and Air: A pile of pine needles on your lawn blocks the essential amount of air and sunlight needed by grass, leading it to become dull and lifeless.
  • Moisture: Pine needles keep the soil from getting the desired amount of moisture. This inhibits the growth of your grass.
  • Acidic: The acidic nature of pine needles can be an invitation to weeds by leaking into the soil and killing grass.

Other than these effects, pine needles are very dry and can become a fire hazard in regions prone to drought conditions, hot summers, and wildfires.

Considering the above effects of pine needles on your lawn, mow them regularly because once they have negatively affected your grass, it will be very difficult to treat that patch.

Advantage of Pine Needles

  • Decomposition: Since the decomposition of pine needles is slow, the mulched needles don’t need to be replaced very often. They also allow water to soak through easily.
  • Perennial Beds: You can also use the mulched pine needles around shrubs or in perennial beds, like strawberries, where you have permanent plantings.
  • Vegetable Beds: Although unlike mulched leaves, pine needles are not suitable for vegetable beds, you can still use them on the vegetable beds if you mow them into smaller pieces.
  • Compost Pile: You can also add pine needles to your compost pile, and they will last years, but make sure no more than 10 percent of the needles are added.
  • Weed Barrier: Pine needles can also be used in the areas like deer fencing and planted beds, where they can act as a weed barrier.

Other Methods to Pick Up Pine Needles

Mowing the pine needles is one method, but there are several other methods that can get rid of pine needles. These methods include:

  • Lawn Sweepers: Lawn sweepers can be a great tool for clearing your lawn of pine needles. The rotating bristle is used to sweep the pine needles towards the collection area. These sweepers come in various forms, including a walk-behind sweeper or a sweeper that can be attached to your lawnmower, known as a tow-behind.
  • Leaf Blower: Since pine needles are heavy and their shape is somewhat aerodynamic, a leaf blower with a speed of at least 200 mph is necessary. Using a leaf blower, you can easily pile pine needles into a collection area.
  • Lawn Vacuum: The disadvantage of using a leaf blower is that after gathering pine needles, you need to put them in a bag yourself and then dispose of them. Instead of using a leaf blower, you can also use a lawn vacuum to remove the pine needles that directly insert them into a bag. You can also use a lawn vacuum to clean pine needles from drains and gutters.
  • Specialized Rake: Ordinary racks are not that effective in collecting pine needles. This is due to their tine placement and construction. With a specialized rake, cleaning your lawn from pine needles is very easy and effective. This type of rake has small, springy metal tine pieces arranged together. These designs collect pine needles in a single sweep, performing double the normal rack operation in half the time. This is a cheap way to clean your yard of pine needles with minimal effort.

Final Remarks

The greenery of pine trees adds a lot to the beauty of your lawn, but as soon as the needles begin to fall from trees, it becomes a headache to clean. Through this article, you have learned how to mow pine needles with your lawnmower. While mowing pine needles is more challenging than mowing leaves, ignoring them can be hazardous to your lawn’s health. So, as soon as you start noticing an excessive amount of pine needles in your lawn, you should mow them immediately with a mulching blade attached to your mower.

You can also use a leaf blower, vacuum, lawn sweeper, or a specialized rake to get rid of pine needles if you don’t want to mulch them. When mulching, make sure that the height of your pile is no more than 3 inches because it will block the sunlight from reaching the grass. Mowing pine needles requires patience and preparation, but it’s very beneficial for the health of your lawn.