1. Is It Ok to Remove Pine Straw Under Huge Pines?

Asked by greenlex - August 15, 2011

I am in the Catskills region of NY, Zone 5. I have four huge white pines. I was leaving the straw on the ground, as nothing can compete with the pines anyway and it is not an unattractive natural mulch for the trees. However, I learned the hard way that the straw is a haven for deer ticks. I found 50-100 ticks on me when painting a fence under the pines. What should I do? I heard removing the needles is bad for the trees.

  • You can remove the straw. It is healthy for the trees if it stays because it makes a nice mulch that helps keep moisture in the soil. As long as the trees are getting enough water, removing the pine straw is fine.

    That being said, you can also try treating the ground with an insecticide first to see if that reduces the tick problem. It might save you the work of having to remove all the straw.

2. Bull Thistle

Asked by Anonymous - August 31, 2011

I have an area around a pine tree (I planted day lilies all around the front of the base of the tree 7 years ago) that is full of thistle. I keep hand pulling it, but it keeps growing back. I was wondering about planting other native Indiana plants that might help to crowd out the thistle. Any suggestions?

  • Yes, it would help but you’ll have to get rid of the thistle first. They are tough to get rid of once established because of their root and rhizome system. In addition, their seed is very viable, blows easily in the wind, and will establish just about anywhere. Pull up what you can and spot treat the area with Roundup, preferably in the late summer to fall BEFORE the weed goes to seed. You could also try suffocating it with plastic, landscape fabric, ormoist newspaper covered with mulch.

3. Sap in Pine Trees

Asked by Anonymous - August 31, 2011

My yard is primarily pine trees. I’ve been told that when the sap rises in the trees, it produces the noise that people often think is made by cicadas. Can moving sap really cause the forest hum?

  • Well, this is a new one on me. The sap flowing through pine trees does not make that sound, but the cicada noise would indeed be coming from the trees. Cicadas actually favor pine trees for feeding and will often chant their ‘mating’ calls from the trees as well. This is why you hear them so good around pine trees, though they do get loud enough to hear them just about anywhere.

4. Growing a Tree From a Cone

Asked by Anonymous - September 5, 2011

Is it possible to take a cone from a beautiful different type of pine tree and grow one of your own?

5. Pine Tree Dying (Brown) – Illinois

Asked by Anonymous - September 6, 2011

My Pine tree appears to be dying. I have 3 pine trees in a row. They are over 30 years old. The first tree died at the end of the year last year, but I kept it in hopes that it was just adjusting to climate. It is definitely dead. The second tree is now experiencing similar problems and I have sprayed insecticide and placed nutrients around the tree. The third tee is just beginning to show signs of the same problem. Who can I contact in DuPage County, Illinois to help me save my trees?


6. Pine Cones

Asked by Anonymous - September 8, 2011

When does a spruce or pine trees start to produce pine cones? Is it near the end of their life?


7. How Long Does Sap Run From Limb of Mature Pine Tree?

Asked by AnnyzYard - September 23, 2011

My neighbor, in August, cut a few limbs off two pine trees. The sap drips on my wood deck AND my concrete patio floor. Aside from cleaning the drip spots, the sap is of course tracked onto the interior flooring of my home. How long do I have to put up with the sap?

  • It really should have stopped by now. If it is still weeping sap, this means it likely has an issue with the cut. I would ask your neighbor to check the cuts and see if one has a fungus infection or a pest problem. As a precaution, he should treat the cuts with a fungicide.

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