are you able to compost the needles of your Christmas tree?


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Over the days, the Christmas tree that proudly sits in your home may start to lose its needles little by little. Sweeper in hand, so we end up picking it up daily. And while it is possible to combat this very annoying phenomenon, it is still very useful to know what to do with what you collect. Indeed, if the trash can is the first destination that will come to the mind of many people, others on the other hand will be tempted to throw these needles in their compost bin to recycle them. But is it wise to add the needles of your fir tree in the compost? Find out what you can do with these needles, but also with those of other conifers in the garden (pines, etc.).

Can you put the needles of your Christmas tree in the compost?

With the exception of those of a flocked fir tree, all conifer needles like those of fir or pine can be quite composted. However, they can tend to acidify the humus. This is the reason why it is better to add some in small doses in the compost. And above all, do not forget to add other waste in the process to ensure a balanced mixture to fertilize the garden. Here, bark or even wood shavings can be good companions for the needles when adding.

To make a good compost to enrich the soil, it will also be necessary above all to take care of grind the needles of your tree. This will allow more efficient and faster decomposition. Also remember to superimpose several layers: peelings and vegetable waste rich in nitrogen, then needles, then manure, etc. And of course, don’t forget to water and turn your mixture regularly as with any good compost. This should allow it to be successful.

ground christmas tree needles
Credit: iStock

Other garden uses for your pine needles

Since you can only add needles in small quantities, you cannot consider putting everything in the compost. Fortunately, one can find other uses for the conifer needles littering the ground.

To acidify the soil temporarily

As explained in the section on compost, fir or pine needles can acidify the soil. It should be remembered, however, that this acidification is not not immediate and that it only lasts for 3-4 months before requiring renewal. Also, it is not the solution to balance a limestone or clay soil. However, this will delight plants such as camellia, hydrangea or azalea.

To mulch the soil

Pine and fir needles are ideal for mulching the soil at the foot of acidophilic plants and beds heather land type, as well as beds of annuals that are not very fearful, unlike perennials which cannot stand it. It can also be used in the vegetable garden for mulching strawberries. In summer, this will keep the soil cool and in winter, it will protect the roots from cold snaps. In addition, this helps to limit soil erosion and the appearance of weeds, but also to repel slugs and snails.

fir or pine needles on the ground
Credit: iStock

Fir needles on the walkways rather than in the compost

Very decorative, the needles can be sprinkled on a path to give a very charming undergrowth effect. And rest assured: it does not interfere with walking at all!

In a chicken coop

Line the ground with pine needles helps protect hens and roosters from fleas and lice. You just need to mix it with wood chips to make sure that your gallinaceans are not going to sting their legs.

For orchid drainage

When repotting an orchid, you can incorporate a third of needles to the volume of substrate. Your plant will love it!

For the bees

You can absolutely use the needles in the smoker. It leaves a good smell, does not make black smoke and gives off little heat.




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