Copyright Ozarkhomesteader 2009
Every year I begin an epic battle to save my squash from squash bugs and squash vine borers. Every year I patiently squish the bugs I find, scrape off the eggs, and cut the stems to pull out the borers. This year I added bright yellow buckets full of water to try to catch the borers’ parents. Imagine my surprise when a batch of pine straw I got as mulch proved more effective than anything else I’d done. Here’s the evidence: squash bugs do not lay their eggs where I put pine straw mulch. I found no squash bugs in the interior of the patch where the mulch was located, only on the edges. And I saw little evidence of borers in the area either. Generally, master gardeners do not recommend pine mulch because of its acidity, but I’m now planning to balance the acidity with application of lime and mulch, mulch, mulch with it. And the best part? I got the mulch free from an urban friend who had raked it up for her city waste disposal folks to pick up.
Since I posted this entry, a Dave’s Garden commentator indicated that he’d used pine mulch in his garden for years with no change in acidity in his garden. That’s reassuring! See his article here.