Pine Needle Mulch
I'm redoing my foundation landscaping on the north-northeast side of my Denver house. A large ponderosa pine tree adds additional shade to the area. The soil is dense clay.
The tree also provides abundant pine needles, and I'm tired of trying to blow-rake-pick them out of the rocks that are there now.
For plants, I am looking for native shrubs that are shade tolerant and not-too-thirsty.
I'm thinking of replacing the old river rocks with pine needle straw mulch, but I want your take on the idea before I do anything drastic.
What do you think of pine-needle mulch?
Denver County Colorado
Removing the rocks from the pine needle area is a sensible maintenance decision. Pine needle mulch is not often recommended as it can add an acidic element to the soil and they do not break down quickly and are very slow to decompose. They can prevent compaction of the soil but there are other natural mulches that would be better. There are not many shade loving natives for under pine trees.
Most of the time a ground cover is used like Vinca as Vinca can tolerate shade and is easy to maintain. Here is a link to an article on native shrubs for Colorado landscapes.