Are Pine Needles good for compost?

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Are pine needles (ground up with a lawn mower) good for compost?
Thanks
Bill Donovan
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opined:

They are excellent. I collect pine needles from any neighbors who have conifers which shed. We don't have all that many in Austin. I will sometimes drive to the piney areas near Bastrop (an hour or more drive) just to collect pine needles.
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opined:

Probably if you age them enough and mix them with other things, you will be okay, but for the record:
http://www.alumni.ca/~wilmota / "... This indicates that the chemical compounds could theoretically be extracted from the pine needles and used on unwanted grass and weeds as a natural herbicide. In order to do this, pine needle composition was researched, and it was discovered that pine needles contain polyphenols and monoterpenes, both of which have been connected with the inhibition of the growth of some plants. Fresh pine needles were then broken down and the compounds extracted with either ethyl acetate or water, and tested on dandelions and grass. Isopropanol was added to the ethyl acetate extracts, as they were not of appropriate consistency to spray on plants. Several different concentrations of each extract, a 5:1 water to isopropanol blank solution as well as a synthetic herbicide were tested for comparison. Grass and dandelion seeds were tested with the same concentrations and conditions to see if these compounds would inhibit germination. " <SOME PLANTS>
I also found that walnut leaves have inhibitors too, according to here: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/county/smith/compost/composttext.html
Now I've never composted pine needles myself, and I'm just reporting this in case someone has used pine compost and wondered why all their plants died.
-- ST
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inhibition
Do NOT use pine needles as mulch with blueberries!
Jim Lewis - snipped-for-privacy@nettally.com - Tallahassee, FL - Only to the white man was nature a wilderness -- Luther Standing Bear (Ogallala Sioux Chief)
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Why not?
billo
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- Tallahassee, FL - Only to the white man was nature a wilderness -- Luther Standing Bear (Ogallala Sioux Chief)
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wrote:

LOL blueberries in florida and the problem is the mulch?
Read some literature on blueberry production in habitats suited to growing bberries and pine straw is used.
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Actually, Tom, southern blueberries are NATIVE to Florida, and are pretty widely grown in the northern part of the state, where they are also found wild in the woods and the national forests. I think they're sometimes called rabbiteye blueberries or some such thing. They are a variety of vaccinium - vaccinium ashei - the other blueberries are vaccinium corymbosum. Both produce edible blueberries, although the southern ones are a little less complex in flavor (to my palate) and more mealy in texture. I have never heard about problems with mulching them with pine needles however. The IFAS unit of the University of Florida is located in Quincy, Florida now, (although part of their project may still be located in Monticelly, Florida) and experimentation on this variety of blueberries is part of their mission. If I were living in Florida I would contact them to find out about how best to grow the blueberries there.
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What's kind of interesting is the nursery is reported as recommending the addition of muricid and then oak leaves as mulch. I'm assuming muricid is some type of acidic supplement, but aren't oak leaves going to make the topsoil more basic (and therefore eventually getting you back to where you started)? Of course that doesn't answer why the blueberries were underperforming with the pine mulch.
Anyway, just to keep things straight, the original post was about pine needle compost, not mulch.
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I believe tannins in the oak leaf mulch will at least temporarily acidify the soil. 6.8 or thereabouts.

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recommending the

muricid is

make the

to where you

were
An earlier message in this thread mentioned the chemicals that are present in pine needles that inhibit growth in some plants.
Oak leaves are quite acidic as they break down. As Dave said, they add tannins to the soil (tannins from decaying leaves -- pine, oak, bald cypress and others -- is the reason the south has so many acid, black-water streams).
As for the "muricid", if that's what I said it was a typo -- I mean Miracid, a commercial fertilizer for acid-loving plants. My fingers often don't agree with my brain.
Jim Lewis - snipped-for-privacy@nettally.com - Tallahassee, FL - VEGETARIAN: An Indian word meaning "lousy hunter."
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Yeah, it was a typo, but it was on me.
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oops, guess I'd better put the dunce hat on. Thanks for the enlightenment!
wrote:

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The IFAS

now,
Monticelly, Florida)

their mission.

about how best

Yeah, I did. I'm a Master Gardener and most always check with the various extension offices. They recommended an "acid" mulch, but failed to specify. When contacted after the folks at "Just Fruits" Nursery told me about pine needles, they said: "Oh. Yeah, that's right." :=/
The Vaccinium species that grow in this area are:
V. arboreum, sparkleberry (very common in my woods) V. corymbosum, highbush blueberry (the second most common Vaccinium) V. darrowii, glaucous blueberry (scarce) V. ellottii, Mayberry (quite common) V. myrsinites, evergreen blueberry (maybe) V. stamineum, Deerberry (a few) V. tenellum, dwarf blueberry (many in my woods)
Local blueberry breeders have take V. corymbosum and V. elliottii as the basis for the local U-pick-em blueberry industry.
Jim Lewis - snipped-for-privacy@nettally.com - Tallahassee, FL - Only to the white man was nature a wilderness -- Luther Standing Bear (Ogallala Sioux Chief)
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- Tallahassee, FL - VEGETARIAN: An Indian word meaning "lousy hunter."
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wrote:

Methinks you are correct, my apologies.....
staring into corner dunce hat on....
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wrote:

maybe it's residual glyphosate.
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Actually, blueberries (same family of roses) have very poor root systems and depend highly on a fungal mat being present.
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wrote:

Just an update on my blueberry bushes that I transplanted several months ago. I use cottonseed meal and peatmoss in the prepared hole. The root system was hair-like and somewhat small. They reponded well are doing exceptionally well in a sunnier location. I have a heap of sawdust aging and composting that I plan to use as mulch for the blueberries in the spring, as recommended in a few gardening books. I am still leary of of the nitrogen depletion of using sawdust, and found that Miracid (applied at half rate) brings the foliage back to the deep green color. But my b-bushes are now in winter sleep (east Tennessee).
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and depend highly

Actually blueberries (Vaccinium) are in the Ericaceae family, not Rosaceae. But, like rhododendrons and azaleas (also Ericaceae), they do not have a deep root system and certainly do benefit from beneficial soil fungi to assist with nutrient uptake.
pam - gardengal
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