Is pine needle mulch good for rhodies and azaleas?

Asked October 12, 2016, 7:31 PM EDT

I have a ton of pine needles under a large old Austria pine tree. Would the needles make a good mulch for my rhodies and azaleas? I've noticed that the pine needles decompose extremely slowly.

King County Washington

3 Responses

Thanks for your question about azalea/rhodie mulch. The answer is: "YES!" Members of the Rhododendron family (which includes azaleas) prefer acidic soil, and pine needles are one of the best ways to acidify the soil. The fact that the needles break down slowly is good news: Mother Nature's slow release fertilizer and soil amendment! Here's a link to an article (not from an ag university, but accurate) that explains what other plants benefit from these needles.

Hope this is helpful!

Thank you very much. I will start spreading my pine needles under my rhodies and other acid-loving plants. I definitely have a never-ending supply of pine needles!

Our neighbor has about 40 Doug firs on his acre. I understand the supply!