How to Mulch With Pine Needles


Mulching is a very important step in successful gardening. Mulched soils retain heat and moisture easier. Mulch also keeps weeds from taking hold around your trees and plants. Grass and weeds, when allowed to grow next to your plants, compete with your desired plants for soil nutrients and moisture. Pine needles, also known as pine straw, make an effective mulch. Pine trees naturally drop their old needles each year, which makes pine mulch very abundant.

Step 1

Prepare the area that you want to mulch. Remove all grass and weeds. Spray a non-selective herbicide on the grass and weeds, or remove them manually.

Step 2

Spread a quarter-inch to a half-inch layer of compost over the entire area. Compost is rich in nutrients. It will slowly break down and feed your plants throughout the summer. Compost will also play a role in making the soil more organic.

Step 3

Lay down a three- to four-inch-thick layer of pine needles over the area. Apply in the late spring after the soil has sufficiently warmed. They will compress over time to about one and a half inches thick. This is a sufficient mulch thickness.

Step 4

Reapply the pine needles every two years. You can remove the old needles or simply lay the new needles over the old ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-selective herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Garden rake
  • Pine needles
  • Soil pH meter
  • Lime
  • Broadcast spreader


  • NC State University: Using Pines in the Landscape
  • Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Extension Frequently Asked Questions
  • Texas A & M System AgriLife Extension: Pine Straw as a Ground Cover Mulch
  • NC State University: Mulching Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: pine needle mulch, using pine needles, pine straw, retain soil moisture, soil pH

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.