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-   -   Pine Tree Shoots in Mulch? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f16/pine-tree-shoots-mulch-42239/)

C93 04-11-2009 12:38 PM

Pine Tree Shoots in Mulch?
 
I have mulch in the flowerbeds around my house that I think is a combination of hardwood and pine. The problem is that I have hundreds or thousands of these little segmented shoots that emerge in early spring that eventually open up into what appear to be little pine trees. They come back year after year. They really take over the flower bed by season's end; it ends up looking like a large unattractive mass of 6-8" tall pine trees. They are very hard to control - they break off when I try to pull them out of the bed and then seem to regenerate. Right now, they are about 3" tall and unopened. It's still fairly cool in this area of New York.

Does anyone know what these things are and how they can be effectively controlled?

Thanks! Sorry no photo (no camera)

Scuba_Dave 04-11-2009 12:44 PM

Hard to say without a picture
What trees do you have around this area?

C93 04-11-2009 12:52 PM

Thanks for the reply.

There are a few maple trees in the yard. Nothing within about 50 feet of the mulched bed. I'm pretty sure they are contaminant seeds from the mulch which came from a landscaping company.

The shoots look exactly like thin, 6-8 inch long needle pine boughs with 2-3 inch long needles after they open.

Grampa Bud 04-11-2009 12:55 PM

What's that old saying?,"If it feels like a pine tree,and grows like a pine tree,and looks like a pine tree, it might just be a pine tree." Right now or in the fall would be the right time to knock their blocks off so to speak. Being carefull of your flowers use a garden or cultivating rake and try to pull all the mulch back to the edge of the beds. Then lay down 1 or 2 layers of landscaping fabric. Only slit the fabric where your flowers or the tress are that you want to keep. Then push the mulch back in place. The fabric will let water and any applied nutrients thru, but the tender little weed and/or tree shoots will never make the trip. If they can't get in they will either die off or will be able to be pulled up with two fingers since they are only in mulch.

C93 04-11-2009 02:42 PM

Well, I brought a sample of the wretched offender to the landscaping/garden center this afternoon. They identified it instantly.

It's the dreaded common horsetail rush. http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/im...Horsetail+Rush

She cautioned me to not pick them out of the mulch as that will cause them to propagate. She said there's a small chance that fabric matting might work. But, the only way to really get rid of it is to remove the affected mulch/soil and replace with new.

Ugh.

Scuba_Dave 04-11-2009 02:55 PM

How does picking them out cause them to propagate?
As long as you get the roots.....

kimberland30 04-11-2009 07:57 PM

I found this on a website. I was curious as I too have this in my garden - but it's not as widespread as yours seems to be!

Quote:

No, if you want to get rid of horsetail you shouldn't try to dig it up: that won't work, at all at all.
You want to reduce soil acidity. Give it a nice round 7 or even 8 and watch the horsetail go away.

You've heard of pH?
Dunno how things are where you're at, but we have naturally acidic soil, and the only thing that works when you try to get rid of horsetail is to make the soil basic. pH 7 or 8, not pH 6. Lots of lime, NOT vinegar.
Most nurserys will do a soil test for you for a small fee, but you may want to buy a kit from a box store just so you have it for future use. Just get some powdered lime (we have some that we drop on our yard just about every year). I'm going to put the powder around these nuisances and see what happens. Good luck!

downunder 04-11-2009 09:16 PM

The only question I have about changing the pH of the soil is- How will that affect the other plants/flowers?

I think I would try a good application of a pre-emergent herbicide first. That is a good treatment in any flower bed anyway to prevent all the other weeds. Since we don't know that flowers and shrubs you have, I would hate to see you cause damage to them by changing the soil that they need.

kimberland30 04-13-2009 03:07 PM

Is there any way to just put lime around those things and not change the ph of the entire bed? I'm just wondering because I have those little pesky things as well, but I haven't done anything with them. I just pull them when I weed and that seems to help, but I don't want them spreading to other areas.


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