The pine tree’s beautiful, towering, sweet-smelling presence will benefit your garden. There are 115 species to choose from, and each one is as lovely as the rest. But is all that beauty and charm enough to plant this tree if it attracts mosquitoes? Do pine trees attract mosquitoes?
Pine trees attract mosquitoes, not because of the delicate pine aroma but the damp and sheltered environment the tree creates. This dark and humid environment allows mosquitoes to procreate and breed comfortably.
If you’re not comfortable with this relationship mosquitoes have with pine trees, you’re better off not planting them. But if you want them despite knowing what you know now, learn more about pine trees and how to keep mosquitoes away.
Pine Trees and Mosquitoes: What’s the Attraction?
You love the appearance and color pine trees add to your garden; mosquitoes love the moist environment and shade the pine branches provide. Because of the shade the pine tree creates, the area becomes humid, making it an ideal resting spot for mosquitoes.
Also, the shade prevents direct sunlight from reaching the ground, making the earth damp.
What about the mulch?
When pine needles or leaves fall off, they form mulch on the ground, retaining moisture and encouraging mosquitoes to settle (PDF). And because there’s little sunlight penetrating the tree to heat the ground, more insects will find their way in and around your gorgeous pine tree.
That being said, is there nothing you can do about this? Does planting a pine tree mean you have to live with the mosquitoes in your backyard?
No! You can have your lovely pine tree and worry less about mosquitoes.
What Can You Do to Keep Mosquitoes From Your Pine Tree?
You can keep your pine tree and have little to no issues with mosquitoes. You must, however, be willing to make some commitments.
Here’s what you can do to keep mosquitoes at bay:
Get Dwarf Pine Trees
Pine trees are naturally tall and can cover substantial real estate in your garden. While that’s not a problem, the bigger the size, the more likely mosquitoes will camp around.
You can choose to get dwarf pine trees instead, as these are much smaller than regular pine trees but have the exact attributes you love in the plant.
How do dwarf pines help with mosquitoes?
Well, dwarf pines are short, and they don’t hold as much moisture as bigger pines. It is easier for sunlight to penetrate and facilitate evaporation, ensuring the ground doesn’t stay moist and suitable for mosquitoes.
Also, the absence of a large shade won’t cause a dark and humid environment that mosquitoes love. But that’s not all!
Because of the tree’s small size, you can plant other trees around the dwarf pine. This wouldn’t be possible with a regular pine for obvious reasons.
Apart from variety and beauty, planting other trees can discourage mosquitoes and other bugs from the dwarf pine. You can be more intentional about it by planting natural mosquito repellent plants and trees. Some examples are lavender (perennial), marigolds, and catnip.
View the complete list of perennial plants that repel mosquitoes.
Remove Branches and Fallen Pines
As pine trees grow, so do their branches. The more branches the plant has, the less sunlight can penetrate, and mosquitoes will have a field day under the shade.
To prevent this or reduce the occurrence, remove some of the branches from time to time. This will allow sunlight to pass through the tree base and keep the ground dry.
You can also keep mosquitoes away by removing fallen pines.
It is natural for pine needles to fall, and the beautiful thing about it is that there’s always a new pine needle to replace them. That’s why pine trees always look beautiful and green all year round.
When the needles fall, they form mulch on the ground and retain moisture, a breeding haven for mosquitoes. You have to step in and remove the needles before that happens.
Don’t Plant Other Trees That Attract Mosquitoes
Pine trees are not the only ones attracting mosquitoes; several other plants do. Before going gung-ho planting trees in your backyard, check to confirm they’re not going to invite mosquitoes to your front porch.
It would be counterproductive to plant dwarf pines and regularly remove branches if you plant other mosquito-attracting trees.
Some of the trees to avoid are cedar, oak, cypress, cottonwood, and water lilies. Generally, you want to avoid nectary and watery plants or plants that offer shade – these are perfect environments for mosquitoes.
Introduce Natural Predators
Another thing you can do to keep mosquitoes away from your pine tree and home is introduce natural predators.
Several of them don’t see eye to eye with mosquitoes, including birds (swallows, chickens), spiders, dragonflies, bats, and turtles. You don’t have to get all of them; one should do. But it would help if you made an informed decision, so you don’t encourage another problem.
Bats are natural carriers of rabies, and you should be wary about inviting them into your garden. Turtles, too, can make people sick thanks to the germ Salmonella. Birds, spiders, and dragonflies are not harmful but can constitute a nuisance.
If you can manage them, why not? These predators will help keep mosquitoes in check.
These preventive measures call for close monitoring and attention to your garden. If you don’t mind this, go ahead to plant pine trees.
Can Pine Trees Repel Mosquitoes?
Pine trees are not mosquito repellent plants, so mosquitoes can freely breed around them. However, pine trees contain chemical compounds that are unsafe for insects, and these compounds are extracted from the leaves and stem and used to produce pine oil.
Pine oil is effective in warding off mosquitoes, and that’s why it is used to formulate mosquito repellents. Unfortunately, the chemical compounds in pine trees cannot affect insects until they’re extracted through steam distillation to formulate pine oil.
Pine trees are lovely, and you should have them around if you want. However, the environment pine trees create will attract mosquitoes to your garden. You can use the preventive measures suggested in this guide to keep them away or avoid planting pine trees altogether.
115 Species of Pine Trees: www.conifersociety.org/conifers/pinus/