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What; s the Best Way to Pick up Pine Needles

What’s the Best Way to Pick up Pine Needles?

Pine trees are a great addition to your yard or garden. They provide excellent shade, help combat soil erosion, provide privacy, and produce a lovely aroma. Not only that, but they also had a beautiful green touch to the landscape all year round.

Even though pines are evergreens, that doesn’t mean that they don’t ever shed their needles. Pine trees shed some of their needles periodically as new ones take their place. This process is no cause for concern, but it can be a headache trying to collect all those stubborn needles.

Because they are so thin, ordinary rakes and tools won’t work. Luckily, some things actually do, so let’s look at the five best ways to pick up pine needles!

Garden Beds

If you have abundant pine needles in garden beds, the best way to remove them from large areas is with a rake. This will clear out most of the debris without removing the soil underneath. If you must get into tight spaces, such as underneath plants, within their branches or near planters, use your hands. Wear gloves when picking up pine needles to protect your hands from sharp points and sap. You will also likely need to use your hands to remove needles from rock gardens, stone walls and other small areas where they can become stuck.

2 – Sweep Them with a Broom

Sweeping the pine needles with a broom is another standard trick that people turn to. This is probably the second most common option that people turn to when they need to pick up pine needles.

If you have a broom, then you can just take it outside and use it to sweep the pine needles into piles. This is going to work really nicely on certain surfaces.

The problem is that it only works well on specific surfaces. You’ll probably have an easy time sweeping pine needles on your patio, deck, porch, driveway, and walkways using a broom.

A broom might be a little less useful when you’re trying to pick pine needles up from the grass. You might be able to use some types of brooms on dirt, but you’ll likely need to wash the bristles afterward.

Essentially, you just need to know that brooms can be useful for picking up pine needles in certain situations. You might not want to use a broom for this job if you’re picking up pine needles on your lawn.

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Disposing of the Christmas tree and the clean up of its residue is not a hard task, but not everyone has the time, or desire to put in the effort. Not to mention, people with bad backs wouldn’t want to bend down and pick up pine needles with tweezers.

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A Messy Job

All pine trees will shed, but a dehydrated tree will shed more. You can’t stop needles from dropping, but you can minimize this phenomenon by keeping your tree well watered.

Have an arborist regularly prune the tree , especially the lower branches, to minimize needle drop while ensuring your trees look beautiful. Some Utahns can even achieve grass growth below pine trees if the limbs are trimmed to give 15-plus feet of clearance.

Some homeowners are diligent about needle cleanup, and the best way to tackle it is with old-fashioned raking. A leaf blower might let you move around some of the needles, but you’ll still need to pick them up.

However, keep in mind that committing yourself to constantly raking up needles can be more of a pain than it’s worth. It’s highly unlikely that your pine tree will ever need human help. Think of the pine trees in the forest: They manage very well without regular raking or leaf blowers (although they wouldn’t say no to some routine pruning if they could!).

Should You Clean Up Pine Needles?

Pine needles can ruin the look of landscaping rocks. An excessive amount of dry needles will turn a pristine dry creek feature into a debris-clogged mess. Pine needles also contain acids that can stain rock a brownish color if the needles aren’t cleaned up soon enough. If you desire a clean look in your yard, it’s best to get the needles out.

  • Remove pine needles in order to maintain a clean look to your rock lawn features.
  • Pine needles left on rocks can stain and discolor rocks.
  • Over time, pine needles release acid into the soil. This can negatively impact the health of plants growing in your rock garden.

Because pine needles are slightly acidic, they can also leach acid into the soil, making it less hospitable for plants. If your rocks are serving as mulch for your garden, it’s a good idea to remove pine needles in order to protect the health of your garden plants.

If pine needles tend to accumulate between / on the rocks in your yard, there are a number of methods that you can use to remove them.

Some of these methods can be more or less effective than others depending on the situation. So, you’ll have to consider which one is best for you.

Leaf Blower

Using a leaf blower is definitely the best method for cleaning up pine needles from rocks. If you decide to do it this way, make sure that you aim the leaf blower at the pine needles towards the edge of the rocks so they blow out of them rather than deeper inside.

This might be a little bit tricky at first, but you should get the hang of it fairly quickly.

One of the best things about using a leaf blower for this is that you don’t need one that is very strong.

Pine needles are extremely small and lightweight, so you should be able to use a basic handheld leaf blower to get the job done without any problems.

A backpack leaf blower is definitely going to the most effective way to clean up your pine needles. These blowers are very powerful and will definitely be able to solve your problem within a matter of minutes.

If you are looking to buy such a device, you can check out my top recommendations in this article.

You will have to use your blower on a power setting that is strong enough to move the needles, but not strong enough to move your rocks.

Also, if you are dealing with a rock garden and you have plants growing there, try to use your blower on the lowest power setting. Otherwise the airflow can be strong enough to damage your plants!

Removing pine needles from here would be fairly easy with a leaf blower.

While buying one of these just to get rid of pine needles might be overkill, don’t forget about the numerous other tasks they can be used for. Such as blowing fallen leaves (obviously), or blowing snow during winter.

Vacuum cleaner

Some people choose to use a vacuum cleaner instead of a leaf blower, though they are usually not quite as effective at this particular task. The main reason I avoid these is because they suck in a lot of sand and pebbles, which can damage your equipment.

That being said, if you think your device can handle it, or if there isn’t much sand around your rocks, you can give it a try.

Power Washer

Those who happen to own a power washer might find that this particular piece of equipment can also be effective in cleaning rocks. This is only a good option for people who want to get pine needles off the rocks and do not mind if they go underneath them.

Don’t try this if your rocks are small as they will be washed away too. Also, do not do this if you have plants growing in your rock garden – this powerful ray of water would be devastating for them!

A side benefit of using this method is that you can effectively take unsightly stains off your rocks within just seconds. However, this is definitely not the best method for completely removing pine needles or leaves from between rocks.

Use a Broom

When dealing with huge rocks, a simple broom can also be very helpful when you want to clean up the area.

You can sweep the needles to the ground to organize them in piles before picking them up with your hands.

This method can take a while if you have a lot of pine needles, so you should keep that in mind. Also, this only works if your rocks are big, and the gap between them is wide enough for your broom to fit in.

You also have the option of using a vacuum to pick up the needles once you have used the broom to dislodge them from in between the rocks.

You can also consider using pieces of tape to pick up groups of pine needles that are trapped in your rocks. Duct tape can be particularly helpful in this case. You can also use packaging tape, which tends to be very sticky and strong.

This is a good method if you only have a limited number of pine needles to contend with. Otherwise, using only tape to get all of the pine needles can be quite time consuming.

A lint roller (such as the kind that you use to remove pet hair from clothing and furniture) can also be useful for this purpose.

Simply move the roller back and forth over the pine needles until you need to peel back the adhesive material to reveal another layer.

This could take a while, but it is an effective method if your rock garden is well organized and you don’t want to mess it up.

Mop Them Up

A sticky mop can also be quite helpful for picking up stubborn pine needles. Once the mop is full, you will need to rinse the needles with water and gather them up in a bucket.

Next you can choose to throw the needles away or use them for other purposes. Again, this only works if you are dealing with huge rocks. Otherwise you’d just mop the rocks away too.

Use a Small Shovel

There is also the option of using a small garden shovel to collect the pine needles. This could also bring up quite a bit of dirt, which can make this task quite challenging.

If there isn’t a lot of dirt around the rocks, you shouldn’t have much of an issue with using this method.

Final thoughts

There are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to removing pine needles stuck among rocks. First of all, how many are you dealing with?

The cleaning method that you use will partially depend on the amount of needles you need to remove from the rocks. Not all of the approaches listed above are ideal for large quantities of these needles.

If you have a leaf blower, you definitely want to use it. This will provide you with the fastest and most efficient way to get the job done. Those who do not already have a leaf blower should think about getting one because of how versatile and useful they are.

Once you are done cleaning up your pine needles, you should get rid of them as they can’t be used for composting purposes like other types of leaves.

Hi! I’m Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I’ve created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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Hi, I’m Ricky. I’ve been involved in lawn care and landscaping from when I was 15. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of pushing mowers, collecting grass clippings, and maintaining flowerbeds at the time. But having seem the passion my parents had for gardening and outdoors and the effort they put in maintaining the health and beauty of our landscape, I couldn’t help but not only admire their hard work but also I became a part of it. As someone who loves to spend time with nature’s best, I find myself learning a lot more about gardening and outdoors on a daily basis. Not to mention I love to share the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with my readers at We Mow Dallas. To be clear, I don’t have a Master’s degree in gardening or anything like that. Everything I’ve learned about gardening, landscaping, and lawn care spring from passion and engagement with my parents. And with a ton of free information out there, plus the ability to run tests and determine what works best for lawn care and landscaping, every day is an opportunity to learn and implement something new. My goal with We Mow Dallas is to teach you exactly how to maintain your lawn and landscape. And since I walk the talk in reality, you shouldn’t hesitate to join me in this wonderful world of landscaping and lawn care.

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