Pine needles are a nuisance to remove from your lawn and garden when they drop every year. They resist mowing, are difficult to rake, and can kill grass and garden plants if left on the ground. If you’re battling pine needles and want to make the task easier, the following tools are the most effective in cleaning up your yard:
- Lawn sweeper
- Leaf blower
- Lawn vacuum
- A rake designed to collect pine needles
Standard mowers and rakes are nearly useless for getting rid of pine needles. By choosing the right tool, you can make removing pine needles a breeze.
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Best Ways to Pick Up Pine Needles
Since the standard mower and rake in your garage won’t get the job done battling pine needles, what’s the best option for how to get rid of pine needles? There are a variety of tools available that will save you backbreaking work and yield a clean lawn and garden.
Lawn sweepers are the perfect tool for clearing your yard of pine needles, pine cones, and dead leaves. This handy tool uses a rotating bristle to sweep debris off your lawn and into a collection area. It works much more quickly and effectively than rakes or traditional bag mowers for collecting pine needles.
Lawn sweepers come in walk-behind varieties that you push across your lawn and tow-behind varieties that can be attached to a riding lawnmower. Either variety will clear your yard of pine needles in record time.
Rather than attempt to rake pine needles, which slip between traditional rake tines and cling in garden crevices among roots and rocks, go straight for a high-quality leaf blower. A blower with at least 200 mph blowing velocity is needed to tackle dense, heavy pine needles, which are tougher to move than leaves. With a good blower, you can remove pine needles from your yard by blowing them onto a tarp, like with leaves. Blowers also work very well in cramped locations as well as within gardens.
Instead of blowing pine needles onto tarps to bag and dispose of, try a lawn vacuum to get the pine needles out of your lawn and bag them all at once. With a Lawn blower/vacuum, you have the option of blowing leaves or vacuuming and bagging them.
A great leaf blower/vacuum will have the ability to vacuum pine needles right out of your lawn and garden and bag them as you go. Clean up is a breeze and tight corners no longer become collection spots for pine needles. You can even use the vacuum function to clear pine needles from drains and gutters.
Use a Specialized Rake
Standard rakes are extremely ineffective at collecting pine needles. This is due to their tine placement and design. If you want the best rake for pine needles, you’ll need one designed for the job. With the right rake, pine needle cleanup is a breeze.
Look for a rake model with thin, springy metal tines arranged close together. These designs collect pine needles in one sweep, doing twice the work of a standard rake in half the time. This is an inexpensive way to clear your yard of pine needles with less effort.
Should You Pick Up Pine Needles?
You should remove fallen pine needles from your lawn. Although pine needles can make for effective garden mulch, they do contain high levels of acidity, which can harm plants and grasses, so they can be very detrimental to lawns and gardens if left on the ground. To prevent dead grass and plants, plan to clean up pine needles once every year.
Will Pine Needles Kill Grass?
Pine needles left on the ground will kill grass through a variety of methods. It’s important to prevent pine needle buildup on the ground for the following reasons:
- Pine needles will block air and sunlight from reaching the grass, smothering it.
- Pine needles will rob moisture from the soil, starving your grass.
- The acidity in pine needles will leach into the soil, killing grass and inviting weeds.
Once a buildup of pine needles has killed a patch of grass under a pine tree, it can be very hard to reclaim that ground. Acidic soil and shade from the pine tree will contribute to an uphill battle for any new grass. Your best bet is to regularly clear away pine needles to prevent grass death.
Are Pine Needles a Fire Hazard?
Dry pine needles can become a fire hazard in dry regions of the American West and Southwest. Drifts of pine needles become beds of tinder that light easily. If you live in a region prone to drought conditions, dry summers, or wildfires, be certain to clear pine needles from your yard. It’s best to practice fire safety and protect your home by clearing out those needles.
Can You Mow Over Pine Needles?
Pine needles are rarely mulched or moved by mowing, even if you use a specialized mulching mower. Pine needles are much denser than deciduous leaves, meaning the suction created by mower blades often isn’t enough to lift pine needles off your yard and up into the cutting blades. You’ll have much better luck with the higher airspeeds and concentrated power of leaf blowers and lawn vacuums.
What to Do with Fallen Pine Needles
If left undisturbed, fallen pine needles in your yard can smother grass, raise soil acidity, and create a fire hazard. In order to prevent grass and garden plant death, clear your yard of pine needles. Mowers and traditional leaf rakes won’t do the job. You’ll clear many more fallen pine needles a lot faster by using a lawn sweeper, a leaf blower/vacuum, or a specialized rake designed to collect pine needles.