tackling the pine

My goodness, there is no end to the fallen pine needles. I actually despise our pine trees. They are along the driveway so our vehicles are covered with pine cones and needles. Sure, the needles come in handy for the garden if I want a little bit of acidic soil, like for my Rhododendrons, they are especially happy in acidic soil. But I hate those darn things, even if they do provide us with a bit of privacy in the winter when our maples no longer have leaves. Oh, and the leaves. The front yard is pretty much cleaned up (aside from the pine needles), but our back yard is awful. On the plus side to all those leaves, I need more mulch in the gardens again. It looks as though something has been digging and with further inspection maybe squirrels were trying to get my flower bulbs. Don’t think they dug down far enough, but I’m still a little worried and actually hope we get snow cover soon. Pesky critters. My dog is bad enough for digging – another reason the back yard looks like crap. He, the dog, decided that the large branches on the small umbrella tree needed to come off and that a trunk with a few branches out the top would look much cooler. He is so destructive.

Back to the pine trees … I think several Hydrangeas planted beneath them would look amazing, and with all the acid coming from the needles, the soil will produce brilliant bloom colours ! Not sure if there is just too much needles that fall, and perhaps they will be smothered. It’s still a thought and it will look so much nicer under those trees.

Thursday is supposed to be our day free from rain so I must make time to get out there and tackle as much of the pine needles as possible before the snow comes.

Aluminum occurs naturally in most soil. To decrease the pH of soil you could apply sulfur, rusty pennies, citrus fruit peels, coffee grinds, evergreen tree needles, or aged fir bark. Levels need to be around 5.5 – 6.0 on the pH scale for the best and deepest blue-purple blooms which is what I would like. All but one of my Macros are pink/red. So to encourage pink to red blooms in highly acid environments, you would have to apply lime to the soil. The only problem with trying to change the pH level of the soil is the length of time it takes – several weeks to several months. With the heaping pile of needles on the ground over many years I don’t think I have a problem with the soil not being acidic enough.

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