Can You Compost Pine Needles?

There are many things that can go in your compost bin. It’s not just for leftovers and other organic waste that can’t be thrown away any other way. Even if something doesn’t seem like it would break down easily, if it was alive at one point and is made of plant materials, you can probably compost it.

Although, there are some things that will keep your compost from working well. If you want to get the most out of your compost, you should avoid putting certain things in it.

If you’ve found yourself wondering “are pine needles compostable?”, “how do I do it?” and “how long will they take to compost?”: you’ve come to the right place.

Can you put pine needles in the compost?

Yes, pine needles are compostable. Adding pine needles to your compost pile will contribute to creating a nutrient-rich fertiliser that you can use in your garden.

Can you put them in the waste bin?

If you don’t have a compost bin, you can put plants in the appropriate roadside collection bin but biodegradable materials like pine needles are better off being in a compost pile.

Disposing of organic or compostable waste like plants in landfill can contribute to the release of potent greenhouse gases like methane, which has around 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Methane emissions are significantly reduced by composting suitable food waste and organic materials.

How to compost pine needles

You should chop the needles compost much faster. You can do this by piling them up and going over them with a lawn mower.

As a brown material, you should be adding pine needles and other brown carbon-rich materials then a layer of green to cover it. Remember to use a garden fork or a stick to poke holes in your compost every couple of weeks to mix the pile up.

How long will pine needles take to compost?

It takes about 3 months for pine needles to completely decompose in a compost. Because they take a little while to break down, you may want to avoid adding them to your compost on a regular basis.

Pine needles discarded on the ground or buried in the ground will take longer to decompose.

Are pine needles a green or brown material?

Pine needles should be considered a brown material when composting.

Materials that are brown, like pine needles, are often more dry solid and woody; and are a source of carbon (one of the four essential ingredients) for your compost. Harder brown materials create air pockets that provide oxygen for the microorganisms breaking the compost pile down.

Composts rely on brown materials like pine needles to add bulk and structure to the pile.

Will composting them attract pests?

No. Pine needles will not attract pests.

Composting considerations

When composting pine needles, you should leave the needles out until they turn brown before composting them. Pine needles are acidic (have a low pH) and will become more neutral if left.

Omar Agor-Wood
Omar Agor-Wood

Omar is a digital marketer by day for one of the UK's largest environmental consultancy companies, and is writing like the world depends on it for Pick Ethical at night. He has a passion for hiking, bouldering, and making a fuss of his dog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *