Abundant and free in most parts of the country, pine needles are a great source of organic matter for the garden. Whether you use pine needles in compost or as a mulch around your plants, they provide essential nutrients and improve the soil’s ability to hold moisture. Once you know how to compost pine needles, you don’t have to worry about any adverse effects.Are Pine Needles Bad for Compost?Many people avoid using pine needles in compost because they think it will make the compost more acidic. Even though pine needles have a pH between 3.2 and 3.8 when they fall from the tree, they have a nearly neutral pH after composting. You can safely add pine needles to compost without fear that the finished product will harm your plants or acidify the soil. Working pine needles into the soil without composting them first may temporarily lower the pH. Another reason why gardeners avoid pine needles in compost is that they break down very slowly. Pine needles have a waxy coating that makes it difficult for the bacteria and fungi to break it down. The low pH of pine needles inhibits the microorganisms in compost and slows down the process even more. Using aged pine needles, or needles that served as mulch for a season, speeds up the process; and chopped pine needles compost faster than fresh ones. Make a mound of pine needles and run over them with a lawn mower several times to chop them. The smaller they are, the faster they will decompose.
Read more at Gardening Know How: Composting Pine Needles: How To Compost Pine Needles https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/composting-pine-needles.htm
By Nikki Tilley(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
“Is ash good for compost? Yes. Since ashes do not contain nitrogen and will not burn plants, they can be useful in the garden, especially in the compost pile. Wood ash compost can be a valuable source of lime, potassium, and other trace elements.
Fireplace Ashes for CompostComposting ashes is an ideal way to put them to use in the garden. Fireplace ashes for compost can be used to help maintain the neutral condition of the compost. It can also add nutrients to the soil. Decomposing materials in the compost pile can become somewhat acidic and wood ash can help offset this, as it’s more alkaline in nature.
However, it may not be a good idea to use charcoal ashes, such as those from grills. Compost with charcoal can have chemical residue from the additives in the charcoal. These chemicals can be harmful to plants, especially when used in large amounts. Therefore, it is better to stick with wood ash—provided that the wood used has not been treated or painted.”