How To Get Rid Of Pine Needles On Grass

The pine trees towering above your home, skirting your yard, are a beautiful element of your property. They offer a bit of shade from the heat and a gentle whisper when the wind blows. However, as beautiful as they are, they’re not particularly great for your grass. 

To maintain a healthy, pristine lawn, you need to ensure your property isn’t caked with pine needles. However, given that the needles can be tricky to pick up (and when they drop from the tree, there are a ton), how should you get rid of them? If you’re struggling to remove pine needles from your lawn, keep reading for a few helpful tips and tricks. 

Are Pine Needles Bad For Your Lawn?

Pine needles aren’t exactly great for your lawn. While a few scattered pine needles won’t make a significant difference in whether your lawn flourishes, copious amounts of pine needles can cause more harm than good. 

When large amounts of pine needles build up on your lawn, they deprive the soil and grassroots of essential elements necessary for growth. The plants cannot get adequate oxygen, water, sunlight, nutrients, or airflow, which can kill your grass

On top of that, excessive amounts of pine needles will put pressure on the grass, causing the blades to bend and break. 

However, minor amounts of pine needles can actually be a good thing for your grass. As the needles decompose, they leave behind nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. These components help promote healthy lawn growth from seedlings and existing roots. 

So, a few miscellaneous pine needles are nothing to worry about, but you should avoid letting them build up on the lawn. 

What Is The Fastest Way To Pick Up Pine Needles?

Pine Needles

Removing pine needles from your lawn can be a time-consuming process, especially if you don’t choose a practical option. Although you could pick up the needles by hand, this isn’t the best idea unless there are only a few miscellaneous needles here and there. 

The fastest way to pick up pine needles is probably with a power tool, like a lawn sweeper or leaf blower. These tools have plenty of power to pick up and whisk away those pesky pine needles. 

Leaf Blower

If you have numerous deciduous trees that shed leaves every year, you might have a leaf blower on hand. Leaf blowers are a convenient and easy way to whisk away pine needles on your lawn without manually removing each one. 

You’ll need a leaf blower with at least 200 mph blowing velocity to tackle a thick, heavy layer of pine needles, which are harder to remove than leaves. While this method will remove the needles from your lawn, it doesn’t put them in a specific location, so you’ll have to blow the needles to a central location and pick them up later. 

To simplify the pick-up process, consider laying out a tarp, then blowing the needles on the tarp for ultra-easy removal. After you have all the pine needles isolated to the tarp, bag them and throw them away. 

Lawn Vacuum

Everybody knows about regular vacuums for carpets and flooring, but did you know there’s such a thing as a lawn vacuum? As you’d probably guess, lawn vacuums work the same as regular vacuums, except they’re specifically for your lawn. 

You can buy leaf blower/vacuum combos, which allow you to choose which way you want to approach the process. Attach a bag to the system, select the vacuum function, and bag the pine needles as you go. 

This is a great way to get pine needles out of hard-to-reach spaces, like tight corners or small gardens. Bonus: you can also use the vacuum function to tackle clogged gutters filled with pine needles and leaves. 

Lawn Sweeper

Agri-Fab Inc 45-0546 52" Lawn Sweeper, Black

A lawn sweeper is ideal for removing pine needles from your yard. Not only that, but a lawn sweeper can also help you tackle pine cones and dead leaves littering your yard. 

These handy tools feature a rotating bristle brush that sweeps debris off your lawn into a collection bag. So, instead of meticulously plucking each pine needle from the ground, use a lawn sweeper to expedite the process. 

Lawn sweepers come in a few different varieties – walk-behind and tow-behind. If you have a riding lawnmower, consider a tow-behind lawn sweeper. As the name implies, you hook the sweeper up to your lawn mower and tow it behind you as you go. 

Or, if you have a regular push mower, consider a walk-behind lawn sweeper. Although these might not be as convenient as the tow-behind variety, they get the job done much faster than other methods, like picking debris up by hand or using a lawnmower. 

Specialized Rake

Traditional rakes are essentially useless against pine needles. The tines are too far apart, allowing the pine needles to slip through unless they’re positioned just right. A specialized rake doesn’t have this problem – the tines are positioned strategically, which prevents the needles from slipping through. 

A specialized rake might be the most cost-effective option if you don’t have a leaf blower, vacuum, or sweeper. While you could rent the power tools from a rental company, you’ll probably have to rent them several times throughout the season to keep up with the removal. So, a rake might be your best bet in this scenario.

Can You Mow Up Pine Needles?

Pine Needles and Cones

While you could certainly try using a lawnmower to pick up pine needles, you probably won’t have much luck. The mower blade probably won’t pick up the needles, especially if they’re compacted at the base of the grass. 

Even if they remain close to the tops of the grass, most mowers don’t create enough suction to lift the pine needles off the yard and toward the cutting blades. They’re much denser than deciduous tree leaves, so they’re tougher to remove. 

So, while you could give it a go, we recommend trying a more time-effective approach. 

How Often Should You Clean Up Pine Needles?

To promote a healthy lawn, you need to clean up any pine needles on the grass regularly. While some folks recommend clearing the yard of pine needles once a year, this might not cut it for all areas. 

There might be a few weeks where you need to do the removal process once or twice weekly to prevent buildup. Otherwise, you might end up with a significant buildup that takes longer to remove. If you can’t see the green of the grass, it’s time to rake the pine needles.