9 May 2012

Pine Straw in its Environment



Pine Straw
Functions - Systems - Processes

Pine needles are beneficial to the pine tree, but they also aid the tree’s immediate environment.

- Pine needles naturally interlock when they fall from the pine tree.
- They create a natural mat on the ground that
- Prevents soil erosion
- Controls weed growth
- Gives water more time to absorb into the ground

- Pine needles do break down relatively slowly. The reason for the slow decay is that:

- The needles are covered with a waxy layer that resists bacteria and fungi,
- They have an excess of carbon relative to nitrogen.

- Pine needles do create acidic conditions in soils, which prompts two further
considerations:

-The bacteria that turn plant matter into compost are sensitive to acidity and
therefore the decrease in pH causes prolong composting.
- Pine needles lower the pH of the upper layer of the ground to a degree that
only some plants will accept.

As the Pine needles decompose, they typically cause an initial decrease in pH (increase in acidity), but over time, the pH rises so that the acidity of the composted material becomes near neutral.

-Pine needles also naturally return nutrients to the soil when they decompose.


/Matilda Weibull Lindborg


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