Can You Use Pine Needles as Mulch?

I know, I know, all of us living in the Sierra Foothills have tons of them.  I rake pine needles out of all my beds and my compost pile, if I don't cover it. Pine needles look like they would make a very convenient mulch and in some cases this can be true, but be careful. So, the question was posed by a PVFS customer "Can I use pine needles as a mulch for my potatoes?"  I would advise against using pine needles to mound around potatoes and most garden vegetables.  I might put some in my compost pile if my soil ph is alkaline or mulch around my acid loving plants. Azaleas, rhododendron, chrysanthemum and roses all appreciate acid soil. Onions, garlic, mint and tomatoes are just a few of the plants in your vegetable and herb garden which would also enjoy the acid boost. This is good news when your whole yard is carpeted with them.  I gotta go home and get out the rake.
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