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.
Is It Ok to Remove Pine Straw Under Huge Pines?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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.