Pine Cones and Needles Usage in Santa Fe

Pine needles don't hold moisture very well until they break down. They
seem to have a waterproof coating -- until they break down. Rot hasn't
been a problem with pine needles in my garden with pine needles or at
the Santa Fe Iris Society Iris Garden where we use newspaper covered
with wood chips from the Santa Fe Environmental Services. Both methods
do hold down the weeds very well and do recycle things that might
otherwise have gone to the landfill. And they enrich the soil.

Little rain makes mulching a good idea as long as it
doesn't trap moisture next to the rhizomes.  Pine needles don't absorb much water.  We do have a monsoon
season in August (some years) and that is the month where you have to watch for rot.

Most irisarians in NM don't worry about the acidity for Tall Bearded - when you mulch with something on the  acid
side, it decays slowly, so the acidifying properties of the mulch  material is offset by time and leachingas (they compost slowly at surface level).

However, if you till them into the soil, then you can run into  issues with pH changes especially for Arilbreds whick like alkaline soil.
 

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