Mulching Pine Needles Into Grass

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Does anyone mulch mow the pineneedles right into the grass? or Oak leaves for that matter?
     
  2. AllBrad

    AllBrad LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    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.
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    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... :)
     
  4. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    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.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    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...
     
  6. AllBrad

    AllBrad LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    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.
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    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... :)
     
  8. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

  9. AllBrad

    AllBrad LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    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.
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

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