Skip to content

[5] Best Ways to Pick up Pine Needles from Grass and Rocks

If you’re dealing with the persistent challenge of pine needles littering your yard, you’ve come to the right place for a comprehensive and reliable guide. This article will not only help you pick up pine needles effectively but also provide essential information on why it’s crucial and how to do it safely.

Best way to pick up pine needles

Best Ways To Pick Up Pine Needles

There are many ways to pick up pine needles. The best way depends on factors like

  • The number of needles you are dealing with,
  • How long they have been on the ground or plants,
  • The topography of your backyard or garden.

Specialized Garden Rake

Specialized garden rakes are best suited for picking up pine needles from your lawn. These rakes have large and closely placed fan-shaped tines with long handles. This is the most inexpensive way of getting rid of the pesky needles.

Leaf Blower

Pine needles are very thin and have pointy tips and can go into tight places, drains, or around rocks where garden rakes or mowers might not reach. Picking them up with bare hands is also not a good idea. 

Using a strong leaf blower is a perfect way to pick them up from places like rocks, drains, and around the roots of other plants. 

You will need a strong blower for this purpose since these needles are heavier than leaves. Using this method, blow all of the needles toward a collecting tarp or net. Once blown into a large pile, use a specialized rake to gather all of them on a tarp or directly into a collecting bag and dispose of them properly. 

Specialized Lawn Sweeper

Sweeping pine needles with specialized lawn sweepers is another fastest way to remove them from your garden without any hassle. Lawn sweepers are different from traditional sweepers used for indoor sweeping and cleaning. They come with a rotating hard bristle brush that agitates the grass and picks all the fallen leaves, needles, cones, and all other debris even from deep down.

Lawn sweepers come in two variants:

  • Push sweeper 

There are two types of push sweepers. One is a manually operated push sweeper. This type of sweeper is pushed manually by the user. 

The second type is a powered push sweeper. This type is powered by a motor. 

  • Tow-behind
A tow-behind lawn sweeper is attached to a traditional lawnmower or a tractor. 

Lawn sweepers come with a container. This container collects all the debris that you can dispose of easily. 

Shop Vacuum

Vacuuming is another efficient and effective way to get rid of pine needles. Shop vacs can give you the ease of vacuuming and simultaneously collecting all the heavy debris directly into a bag instead of first blowing all of them on a tarp and then collecting them into a bag. 

One major benefit of using vacuums is you can pick up pine straws even from tight places like drains, gutters, crevices, etc. 

You should be careful while using the vacuum for this purpose. Sucking up pine cones might harm some vacuums. 

Power Washing

Although using power washers might be considered overkill, it will make your garden look new and fresh. Especially on the patio or around stonework and pavements, power washing is a better choice for getting rid of pine residues and cleaning up the area. 

Power washing is also helpful in removing the sticky sap that drains from pine cones and needles which is actually harmful to grass and nearby plants. 

Power washing should be done with care as it could destroy nearby plants. It is better to keep the water pressure minimal to avoid any damage. 

Why do you need to pick up pine needles?

Pine needles are harmful for many reasons. They are heavier than leaves. So, they don’t get blown away by the wind. This is why they keep sitting in one place if not removed. 

Pine Needles Absorb Moisture

Pine needles take a long time to decompose. And if they keep sitting in one place, they will suck all the moisture from the soil. This will let other plants and trees starved. 

Pine Needles Can Kill Grass and Plants

Pine foliage and cones exude gluey fluid that makes the soil acidic. Although this sap helps prevent weeds and other unwanted herbs from growing in your garden, it will also make the soil inhabitable for grass and nearby plants. Pine needles would kill other plants and grass if left on them for a longer time period. 

The acidic property of pine straw and the blockage of sunlight from the pine tree itself make conditions very harsh for grass to regrow once it is destroyed. To prevent this plague, cleaning your garden becomes more important. 

Pine Needles Are A Fire Hazard

Fallen pine needles are dry. This is the main reason they are a fire hazard. They become more fire-prone during dry weather and summer. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, you should be more active to remove this foliage more often.

Pine Needles Can Injure Pets And Kids

Having your kids and pets playing in your backyard which is covered with pine foliage is a recipe for disaster. The pine needles not only will injure the feet but will cause health issues if a pet or a kid intakes the acidic sap they exude. 

Important Uses Of Pine Needles

Once you have collected all the pine needles from your backyard, you might be wondering what to do with them. Are they good for anything?

Don’t throw these collected pine needles away in the garbage bin. As harmful as they are when allowed to stay on your grass and plants, they are as effective and useful once picked up.

Use In Fireplace

Dried pine needles are a good source of fire in your fireplace during winter. They are great fire starters. Only dried ones should be used for fire because fresh pine needles contain sticky sap that will turn into creosote.

Use As Mulch

Pine needles can be used as mulch for your garden or pavements. They don’t decompose quickly so you don’t have to replace them that often. 

Make Decorative Items

Pine needles are used to make decorative items and ornaments like trays, toys, baskets, etc. Make some and place them in your living area. They will surely compliment your house interior. 

Make Pine Tea

There are some medicinal uses for Pine needles as well. They can be used to make pine tea. This tea contains vitamin C which is an immune system booster that benefits health. 

Use As Scent

Pine needles have a sweet refreshing scent. Boiling them will create a pleasant aroma in your house. 

Use In Compost Bin

If you are a gardener and you make organic compost for your plants, you must have a compost bin in your backyard. Throw all the collected pine foliage into the compost bin. These will provide a rich source of carbon to your organic compost that will balance the nitrogen-rich materials in the compost bin. 

How To Regrow Grass Under Pine Needles?

Pine foliage is acidic. The sticky fluid that these pine needles and cones bleed smothers the ground underneath if left uncleaned for a longer time. They kill the grass and nearby plants. 

If you have left them for long enough on your ground that they have killed all the grass, don’t worry! I have the solution for growing the grass back after the pine needles’ havoc. 

  • You have to pick up all the pine foliage through any of the methods described above.
  • It is better to power wash as well. This will also get rid of all of the sticky sap.
  • Once you have gotten rid of all of the pine residues, get some lime dust and pour it on the ground. Lime, also known as calcium carbonate, neutralizes the acidity caused by the dead pine needles. Just spreading the lime dust once a season will balance the pH of the soil and grass will grow back.

Happy gardening! 

Latest posts by Billie Kelley (see all)