5 Best Sweepers and Rakes for Pine Needles

Pine trees, conifers and fir trees provide shade, scent and structure to any garden, but the rate at which they drop pine needles can be hugely frustrating. We’re looking at the best rake for pine needles on the market in 2022 to make sure you can sweep pine needles off any surface with ease.

As well as how to rake pine needles, be sure to check out our guide on using pine needles as mulch too, so you know how to make the most of this valuable resource!


What is the Best Rake for Pine Needles?

Grass rakes, leaf rakes, scarifying rakes, bucket rakes. There are so many types of rake on the market, and all claim to be good at picking up leaves and scouring through any surface, but the best rakes for pine needles have always been, and will always be, wide tined leaf rakes.

While raking up pine needles can be a back-breaking effort, using a wide tined, well-sprung rake can save time and effort, but if even that seems like too much work, we’ll look at some slightly less arduous tools to sweep pine needles too. 

Are pine needles acidic?

Pine needles are tiny leaves that fall from conifers, pine, and fir trees. They have traditionally been thought to acidify the soil, but pine needles are not acidic by the time they hit the ground – not to any significant extent anyway. 

Pine sap is acidic, as you can tell by the wave of eye-watering scent when you brush past their branches in summer, but by the time pine needles have dried and fallen from the tree they have a near neutral ph.

Although pine needles are basically a neutral mulch, they do kill off the grass when they fall in dense patches, and the thirsty roots of pine trees take up so much goodness from the soil that it can be incredibly hard to grow anything nearby.

What that means, is that pine needles make an incredibly good weed suppressing mulch, but no, they aren’t acidic enough to damage your soil quality!

Rakes for Pine Needles Buyers’ Guide

What to look for When Buying a Rake for Pine Needles

Pine needles are small, fine leaves, which are hard to gather with a typical rake, particularly over the grass as the needles tend to catch on grass blades and flick away from the rake.

Using a bristled rolling lawn sweeper avoids this, but for a cheaper option, wide sprung rakes are incredibly effective at sweeping pine needles.

Types of Rakes that Work with Pine Needles

Traditional leaf rakes are actually surprisingly good at catching pine needles, but as with every job in the garden, there’s a more up to date gadget that does the job better.

Below, we look at the two most practical tools for raking pine needles:

  • Lawn sweepers
  • Sprung leaf rakes

Lawn Sweepers

Types of Rakes that Work with Pine Needles

Source: amazon.com

Lawn sweepers are brilliant tools if you don’t want to risk accidentally scarifying your lawn with a rake. They work by brushing evenly across the grass surface with minimal pressure using rotating plastic bristles that are incredibly efficient at flicking leaves and pine needles right back into their baskets.

You can buy electric or petrol driven lawn sweepers, but they’re honestly not worth the extra cost as manual push lawn sweepers as they are typically better at collecting leaves and are much lighter and more comfortable to use. 

The best lawn sweepers will have adjustable heights, so you can brush through longer lawns or set them deeper to get right down into the thatch after a heavy winter carpet of pine needles has dropped.

Sprung Leaf Rakes

Best Pine Needle Rake

Sprung leaf rakes come in a few different forms. Personally, I find traditional fan-shaped rakes to be the most efficient rakes, plus they work for a multitude of other tasks so save space in the garage as you can do most raking tasks with a good quality steel rake.

However, there are some more innovative designs that work well with pine needles, including fine-toothed wire tined rakes, and even fanned plastic rakes.

  • Plastic rakes tend to have wider prongs, meaning they miss fewer leaves so you can get the job done faster, but they can bend and snap if they get caught. 
  • Parallel rakes, as we’ll look at in the reviews below, are the design preferred by groundskeepers, and sports field managers (including golf courses!).

    They take a touch more precision as their parallel design means pine needles can escape around the edge, but they comb through lawns gathering moss and thatch in the process so you’ll be left with a truly pristine lawn after each use.

How to Use a Pine Needle Rake

Pine needles have an irritating tendency to fly off in every direction while you’re raking. For example, we decided to prune back a beautiful old conifer the other day to create more of an open canopy.

The results were beautiful, but the mass carpet of pine needles went absolutely everywhere, until… We remembered we had a sprung rake in the shed. The difference was incredible, and the control it gave us was immense.

Whatever rake you use, try to keep it at 45 degrees to the soil, making short, backwards sweeping motions. Sweep in rows to one edge of the lawn, then sweep the back edge back into one corner.

Repeat this from the other edge of the lawn to gather up any stray needles and then carefully sweep a double row back along the lawn edge to the original pile. That way you should avoid rows of pine needles left over.

Best Pine Needle Rakes

1. Truper Tru Tough Steel Pine Needle Rake

Truper Tru Tough Steel Pine Needle Rake

Source: amazon.com

There’s a reason that steel sprung rakes have never gone out of fashion amongst gardeners. They work on pretty much every problem, whether you need to scarify, dethatch, or just remove pine needles for a lawn. 

Truper makes outstandingly good garden tools, and build quality is always high, so if you’re looking for a rake that will last a lifetime, this Truper leaf rake is the one for you. We’ve had an older model of this rake by Truper for the last ten years and it’s still as sturdy as it was when we bought it.

The only problem with these leaf rakes is that they are fiddly to clean if you’re sweeping anything bigger than pine needles as they have a tendency to pierce and hold into leaves.

  • Can clump with larger leaves from deciduous trees

2. Groundskeeper II Rake for Pine Needles

Groundskeeper II Rake for Pine Needles

Source: amazon.com

The precisely sprung, needles like tines on this landscaping rake are perfect for neatly raking pine needles out of lawns. The wound steel prongs provide the perfect spring without risking too much bounce if it gets caught in thatch too.

But what’s truly great about this groundskeeper rake is that it’s incredibly effective at removing thatch as you go.

For anyone who cares about pristine lawns, this is the rake for you because removing thatch throughout the year is one heck of a lot easier than doing it all in one go with power tools when it’s gotten out of control.

  • Bad for sweeping paths

  • Self-assembly

3. Truper Tru Tough Plastic Pine Needle Rake

Truper Tru Tough Plastic Pine Needle Rake

Source: amazon.com

I didn’t really like plastic rakes until recently, as they tend to snap or wear down if you use them on hard ground, but for sweeping grass, this design from Truper is actually very effective. 

The wider tines that are a side effect of manufacturing from plastic might seem clumsy, but for sweeping fine leaves they are great at creating a mat to help collect the rest of the leaves as you go, and are also really easy to clean.

  • Plastic joins to a timber handle and can fracture with overuse

Best Lawn Sweeper for Pine Needles 

4. Scotts Outdoor Power Tools LSW70026S Push Lawn Sweeper

Scotts Outdoor Power Tools LSW70026S Push Lawn Sweeper

Source: amazon.com

As well as being a trusted brand, Scotts is a passionate garden maintenance company building tools that help the average gardener make light work of big tasks.

This is a specially designed leaf sweeper that has adjustable bristles for the ideal sweep on every grass length, but more importantly, it won’t risk damaging or scarifying your lawn at all.

For many, the added dethatching of a steel tined rake is a bonus, but for some gardeners, that’s a risk they don’t want to take. For a simple, effective sweep, these manual leaf sweepers are by far the most efficient way to pick up leaves and pine needles from a lawn.

  • Efficient

  • Effective

  • Well built

  • Easy to maintain

  • Lightweight

5. Earthwise LSW70021 Leaf & Grass Push Lawn Sweeper

Earthwise LSW70021 Leaf & Grass Push Lawn Sweeper

Source: amazon.com

Earthwise is a decent budget brand for garden tools. If you don’t want to splash out on the best lawn sweeper and are looking to save some money, then these budget lawn sweepers are good at picking up pine needles and leaves from lawns.

The downside of lawn sweepers like this is that they are terrible at collecting wet debris and don’t really work on wet grass. But for a dry spring day, there’s no easier way to rake pine needles.

  • Lightweight

  • Efficient

  • Easy to maintain

  • Easy to adjust

Best Rake for Pine Needles 2022

Best Rake for Pine Needles
Truper Tru Tough Steel Pine Needle Rake

Source: amazon.com

Truper aren’t the best-known garden care brand out there, but they make reliably good tools that look good as well as perform well. 

There might be more modern gadgets on the market that can rake pine needles with less effort, but you won’t find a more effective rake for pine needles than a good old fashioned sprung leaf rake.

How to Clean Up Pine Needles

1. Wait for the Right Season

Don’t get too excited to clean up your pine needles. The best season to remove them is during winter. Every fall, pines drop some needles as they grow. If you remove them during the fall season, it is highly likely that you will do it over and over again.

Therefore, it would be best to wait until the fall ends. Additionally, with that yellow carpet of dried needles during the Halloween, your yard will look beautiful without much effort.

How to Clean Up Pine Needles

2. Preparing Your Materials

Once the winter arrives, it would be best to make necessary preparations. Using a thick pair of gloves is ideal as it will protect your skin from those sharp edges of pine needles.

Other materials that you need are a rake and a lawn bag or a garden cart. These things will help you clean your yard by getting rid of the pine needles.

3. Start Raking The Pine Needles

Now that you have everything ready, it is time to get the ball rolling. You can either collect them in just one pile or in separate piles. If you have a large yard, it would be best to use a wheel rake which can be attached to the lawnmower later. This will surely make things easier for you.

4. Picking Remaining Needles Using Your Hands

For the remaining pine needles, it would be better to pick them up using your hands. This tedious job can take a while and some effort.

Another alternative is wearing a pair of gloves with double-sided tape wrapping around. It will only cost you a pair of glove, and a lot of tape but this method is easier and time-saving.

5. Dumping the Pine Needles

After picking pine needles, you can dump them in a lawn bag, garden cart, or even in a wheelbarrow. If you are planning to save the pine needles for your compost, then using a wheelbarrow and a garden cart would be preferred.

If you intend to give the pine needles to your neighbors, you can dump into the lawn bags.

More Tips on Cleaning Pine Needles

Tips on Cleaning Pine Needles

1. Cleaning Pine Needles in Pavement and Patios

Now if there are any pine needles scattered on your pavement and patios,you can use a push broom or an outside broom. With the large pavements and patios, the push broom is more convenient since it has a flat and long surface. It will help you getting rid of larger debris.

You may also opt to use rakes to do the task, but there might be some debris left after cleaning. The left ones can be swept using the push broom or an outside broom, depending on your preferences.

2. Cleaning Pine Needles in Garden Beds

Garden beds can also be an ideal home for fallen pine needles during the fall season. Since garden beds are typically large you can use a rake to remove them. It will help remove the pine needles without removing all of the soil underneath them.

You may use your hands if you need to clean up pine needles in only a small area. Just make sure to wear gloves to protect your skin. Typically, you will be able to remove them from stone walls and rock gardens.

3. Cleaning Pine Needles in Ponds and Pools

There are some cases that pine needles will fall into your ponds and pools. The good news is, you can quickly get rid of them with a skimmer or a pool net.

You can sweep them off, lift the pine needles and collect them in one bag, which you can, later on, throw to the local dump site in your area.

Related article: How to Kill a Pine Tree

Rakes for Pine Needles FAQs

Can you use a leaf blower to rake pine needles?

Leaf blowers are effective against pine needles but tend not to work very well in grass. For pine needles that have fallen on hard paths, using a leaf blower is undoubtedly the easiest way to sweep pine needles.

Can you use a leaf vacuum for pine needles?

Leaf vacuums are a great alternative to leaf rakes for pine needles but aren’t powerful enough to pick up, or mulch, pine cones, so for consistent control of pine needles in the garden use an old fashioned sprung rake.

Make Maintaining Your Garden Easier by Using the Best Rake for Pine Needles 

Pine needles are messy and get into every part of the garden, between paving, under rocks, and deep into lawn thatch making them particularly hard to remove, but there are some great traditional tools you can use to manage them in the garden.

Don’t fall into the trap of removing pine trees because a neighbor said “pine trees poison the soil”. That’s simply not true, and they are great low maintenance trees for any garden that can be shaped into wonderful structures, or just left wild to provide habitats for nesting birds.

Depending on how big your lawn is, you are now set to choose between the best sweeper or rake for pine needles!

How to Clean Up Pine Needles in the Yard

Pat Moreno

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