Fallen Pine Cones

Hi!
What do most people do with their pine cones when they fall off the tree?
I thought I would be "natural" and leave them there. So I have for 20 years. But I've noticed that when I step on them, it forces them into the ground (often somewhat wet and soft) and kills the grass, and then when I sit on the ground, I always seem to be sitting on a hard pine cone that is sticking out a little.
Of course they do break down eventually (5 to 15 years?), but what do most of you do with them when they fall, and what would you do with all the ones that are poking out of the ground now?
Thanks a lot.
Meirman
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I just moved into a house with 11 pine trees and so far I have been picking them up once a week for the trash pickup. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. My neighbor has told me he uses them as fire starter when he uses his fireplace, and keeps a bag handy when he wants to build a fire. I tried it once and they really worked well, but it is not that cold here yet so I haven't used them since. Meanwhile I'm just bagging them for trash pickup. Now I just have to figure out a use for pine needles.
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The_Critic wrote:

http://www.members.carolina.net/pineneedles/where.html http://www.herhobbies.com/basketweaving/pine.shtml http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lawns/msg11144846939.html
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meirman wrote:

At the county rehabilitation hospital near me patients would make holiday wreaths by gluing them to donut shaped pieces of Masonite.
I put mine in a yard waste recycling bag and set it out for the garbage man. The squirrels usual get to them before me.
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Pine cones are an incredibly high energy food for animals like squirrels, loaded with sugars. Around here, if you leave them out in the fall and winter they get gnawed down to the cob in a day or two.
They are also highly acidic, as is everything from a pine. That's one way pines clear the land for baby pines, the acid needles kill the plants and make ready for the cones.
I don't know about burning them, they may burn fast and hot, but the pitch is still flammable and will coat the still cool chimney. That wil increase the risk of a chimney fire, though I don't know if it would be a significnt increase. I don't intend to find out!
Philip

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