The age old question… when to take off the pine needles! Well this year, the answer for me is March 7th!
We’ve had a very mild winter here in Zone6b (my part of it anyway). Although we did have a few cold snaps, and some wintery weather, it was for the most part a mild and comfortable winter. According the the US weather service, March, April and May are slated to be above average in my parts… and March is shaping up that way already.
Today as I left work my thermometer registered 16C, and the rest of the week is shaping up to much of the same… temps between 8C and 16C for the next 10 days and no nights below freezing. When I see that sort of mild weather pattern, its time to get the bulk of the pine needles off and let the air and sun get to the plants. Warm days, cool nights, wet pine needles and no air circulation is a good recipe for mold and fungus… Also, you don’t want plants to start growing quicker because of the warm mulch, so getting these needles off is not only good for plant health… it makes the transition from dormancy more “natural”.
Anyway… so today when I got home, I removed my pine needles. As you can see in the photo, there are still some needles there. I don’t think they really do much, but it makes me feel better just in case we get some freezing weather. In a couple of more weeks, I will clean up all the rest of pine needles and start the spring clean up.
I did a quick check on the plants as I cleaned up the needles… they all look good, even the seedlings. Doesn’t look like there is any really heaving issues like last year… likely because the bogs didn’t freeze as hard.
Welcome to the start of new Season.