Do Pine Needles Make Soil Acidic?

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Pine needles are often used as mulch around plants with a low pH level. This is because pine needle mulch can cause the pH of soil to drop slightly as it breaks down.

Significance

  • The pH of soil is a measure of how acid or alkaline soil is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH neutral soil is rated 7.0. Soil that has a pH rating lower than 7.0 is acidic, while soil that is rated higher is alkaline.

Function

  • Plants also have a pH rating. Plants whose pH matches the soil's pH can take up nutrients more efficiently than plants with a pH rating different than the soil. Pine trees and the needles that they produce prefer acidic soil.

Features

  • As pine tree needles decompose, they return acid to the soil. Over time, this acid can cause the pH rating to drop. Because of this, pine needle mulch is a good mulch to add around plants that like acidic soil such as pine trees as well as blueberries or azaleas.

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