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Smallaxe
09-12-2011, 11:00 AM
Does anyone mulch mow the pineneedles right into the grass? or Oak leaves for that matter?

AllBrad
09-12-2011, 03:29 PM
All the time. I just speed up the cycle by mulching it up. All of my lawns are nice and dense, and they just suck up the debris. Back to the soil where it belongs.

Smallaxe
09-12-2011, 06:28 PM
All the time. I just speed up the cycle by mulching it up. All of my lawns are nice and dense, and they just suck up the debris. Back to the soil where it belongs.

Thanks for the encouragement...

We will go into winter shortly after the pine needles come down , so I still wonder if they'll be quite finished digestting by then... could unfinished needles sitting under the snow, on top of the grass, for 4 months be a problem?

This is another reason to wish to be in Alabama for the winter... :)

ChiTownAmateur
09-12-2011, 07:32 PM
A thin layer of oak leaves or pine needles makes a fine mulch. I would not leave more than a thin layer of pine needles in place for a long period of time, especially a period where they won't break down quickly. It can and will burn the lawn underneath.

Smallaxe
09-12-2011, 08:38 PM
A thin layer of oak leaves or pine needles makes a fine mulch. I would not leave more than a thin layer of pine needles in place for a long period of time, especially a period where they won't break down quickly. It can and will burn the lawn underneath.

I wouldn't leave them on at full size... we're talking about mulching them into the turf with a lawn mower, just as we leave the grass clippings behind, we would also leave the finely chopped needles behind...
Mulch mowing maple leaves isn't an issue, but the pectin layer on the pine needles prevent them from quick decay... they last forever on my strawberry beds and various other garden areas...

AllBrad
09-12-2011, 09:26 PM
Well in south alabama we never have snow. Actually I cut grass year round. Yes I do cut back to once a month, but the grass is basically green all but one month of the year. I always mulch my leaves and needles, then come back with a blower and just lightly color the lawn green, blowing the small excess into the flower beds. Most of our flower beds are covered with long leaf pinestraw. So I really have no idea when it comes to snow. Seems that you should treat it like topdressing. To much and you could smoother it. But I quess that is what the snow is for.

Smallaxe
09-12-2011, 09:46 PM
Well in south alabama we never have snow. Actually I cut grass year round. Yes I do cut back to once a month, but the grass is basically green all but one month of the year. I always mulch my leaves and needles, then come back with a blower and just lightly color the lawn green, blowing the small excess into the flower beds. Most of our flower beds are covered with long leaf pinestraw. So I really have no idea when it comes to snow. Seems that you should treat it like topdressing. To much and you could smoother it. But I quess that is what the snow is for.

So you're saying that you mulch mow the needles into a thick enough layer that they actually cover the grass... then you blow some of it off so the grass can breathe, with the blades poking through this dense mulch... just as we do with maple leaves... interesting...

I'm gonna have to try that in an area of one of my lawns this fall... I wish I had water, further into the fall, but I can always dormant seed the area when the snow comes... :)

Exact Rototilling
09-12-2011, 10:01 PM
Always thought it was bad for the lawn but I guess not....http://www.pinestrawinfo.com/PineStrawMulchAcidity-SeparatingFactFromFictionThroughAnalyticalTesting.pdf

AllBrad
09-12-2011, 10:41 PM
no my bobcat will mow mulch the straw fine enough that it falls to the soil. I will come back and blow off anything that is too thick. Between oak leaves, pinestraw, and grass clippings, everything will break down rapidly.
Mr. Exactotill, everything around here is slightly acidic anyways. We recieve around 60 inches of rain a year. Most lawn types are St. Augustine or Centepede, and the average ph level is around 6.0- 6.5. As for flower beds, we love camellias and azaleas in the south. Everything seems to trive if we just cut, water, and add a little compost or milorganite once a year. My ph levels are checked once a year, and they all have leveled out and stayed in check.

Kiril
09-12-2011, 10:43 PM
Always thought it was bad for the lawn but I guess not....http://www.pinestrawinfo.com/PineStrawMulchAcidity-SeparatingFactFromFictionThroughAnalyticalTesting.pdf

I wouldn't recommend putting much faith in that doc.

Exact Rototilling
09-12-2011, 11:07 PM
I wouldn't recommend putting much faith in that doc.

Tell us more...worst offender needles here are ponderosa pine with those super long needles. I typically bag those lawns. Not sure if they would mulch well?
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Kiril
09-12-2011, 11:50 PM
I was commenting on his lack of proper methodology. You need to find a better source of information.

Smallaxe
09-13-2011, 08:40 AM
no my bobcat will mow mulch the straw fine enough that it falls to the soil. I will come back and blow off anything that is too thick. Between oak leaves, pinestraw, and grass clippings, everything will break down rapidly.
Mr. Exactotill, everything around here is slightly acidic anyways. We recieve around 60 inches of rain a year. Most lawn types are St. Augustine or Centepede, and the average ph level is around 6.0- 6.5. As for flower beds, we love camellias and azaleas in the south. Everything seems to trive if we just cut, water, and add a little compost or milorganite once a year. My ph levels are checked once a year, and they all have leveled out and stayed in check.

OK got it... We do have a slightly different situation here, but I do have a relatively active mulch going on in the lawns now, so they may be able to absorb a few pine needles... I'll start slow... :)

RigglePLC
10-12-2011, 10:20 PM
I mulch mow most of my oak leaves into my lawn (two 75 foot white oaks.) I can check the pH tomorrow with my meter. The pH was 6.8 in 1999.
Wife blows them from flower beds into lawn. I mulch them repeatedly with lawn mower in grass. We remove only the heaviest accumulations with a snow shovel. Within a few days or rain the grass grows up through the residue.

Smallaxe
10-13-2011, 06:56 AM
I mulch mow most of my oak leaves into my lawn (two 75 foot white oaks.) I can check the pH tomorrow with my meter. The pH was 6.8 in 1999.
Wife blows them from flower beds into lawn. I mulch them repeatedly with lawn mower in grass. We remove only the heaviest accumulations with a snow shovel. Within a few days or rain the grass grows up through the residue.

Good to know... :)

RigglePLC
10-13-2011, 06:16 PM
Ok, I checked the pH in the area were we mulch our oak leaves. I used my inexpensive garden store pH meter. PH was 6.8 in both the front yard and the back yard where the oak leaves are mulched. My university soil test also came back as 6.8, but that was in 1999. Maybe I can find an area that has a lot of pine trees and pine needles to test with my meter. If I find a spruce tree does that count?

RigglePLC
10-14-2011, 08:29 PM
I checked under several evergreen trees at the botanic garden. 60 foot scots pine, 18 inch diameter: pH 7.

30 foot Serbian spruce pH 6.9. I will try to find more.

Smallaxe
10-15-2011, 06:24 AM
I believe the idea of pine needles and oak leaves lowering the pH of the soil is a myth...