Top Features in a Gutter Guard to Stop Pine Needles From Clogging Gutters
First, you’ll want a system design that slopes like your roof so it doesn’t create a surface where pine needles can build up.
Unlike other systems, MasterShield is not installed flat or virtually flat. It is installed as close as possible to the pitch of the roof to minimize material build up and use wind or any natural airflow to blow the needles off your roof. If the surface over your gutter is virtually the same as the rest of your roof, your gutter cover acts as if it’s a part of the roof itself.
If you live with the problem of needles, you’re well aware that gutters collect this kind of debris fast as pine needles blow into your gutter by rolling down the roof or flow into it by mixing with rainwater.
As wind or rain slowly pushes the needles down to the roof’s edge, the won’t find a place to build up like they can on other products. Note the gutter guard won’t shed this debris any faster than the roof itself. Water has a much better chance of flowing though a system pitched this way because it flows through any layers of pine needle build up that may exist (think of a book where water can get between all the pages from it’s side rather than dropping onto the solid surface of its cover) better than it can get through a system that sits flat and creates that solid surface like the book cover.
Gutter guards without much pitch create a shelf for needles to collect and build on. Pitching the system allows wind to blow off more material, resulting in less maintenance than other systems require.
Contacts Roof Shingles
Secondly, MasterShield maintains contact with the roof shingles
. Other systems that claim they don’t touch the shingles leave a gap between the shingle and the gutter guard. This causes a couple of issues:
- Pine needles can blow under and build up under the shingles, where they stay wet longer. This means they act as a sponge and cause premature aging to the shingle edge or to the wooden fascia board where the gutter is attached. Our Shingle Safe under-the-shingle installation methodology has been approved by GAF, Certainteed, IKO and Owens-Corning, so you can rest assure our guards for pine needles can be installed this way.
- Water that drops off of a shingle edge onto the gutter guards below have a tendency to splash more. That’s because water bounces off the filter once it drops onto the cover. This means the guard tends not to capture all of the water off the roof. Splashing water often leads to rot on any wooden surface it comes in contact with.
Fine Mesh Filter
A third feature of MasterShield is its fine mesh filter
. A fine mesh design means that needles can’t get stuck in the mesh.
When a filter that has larger openings is used, it’s common to see needles stuck in the mesh of the gutter guard. A filter that has larger holes also creates a surface where debris catches on and gets stuck, meaning that it’s less likely to shed.
MasterShield’s filter surface is like Teflon, so it’s easy to brush clean of anything that sits on it (which means that wind does the work in most cases!)
The Touch Point Structure
The fourth feature of MasterShield is its touch point structure. This refers to the technology used to pull water into the gutter cover. Think of being in a tent in the rain and how dry you can stay with only a piece of cloth over your head. Then think of what happens when you touch the roof of the tent. That touch point creates a whole new scenario where you’ve created a way for water to get through the tent and flow down your finger.
A single touch point doesn’t do much, but a lot of them can, especially if your goal is to get all the water hitting your tent to flow into the tent itself.
That’s what we’re trying to do with our gutter guard technology. Touch points should be continuously placed underneath the filter
, particularly if you add an angled pitch to the guard. If you don’t have enough touch points or stagger them in any way (it changes the forward flow of water), they are just not as efficient at pulling water into the gutter below.
The Moss Killer
Lastly, pine trees cast lots of shade. And shady conditions can lead to the growth of moss and lichen which exist in most parts of the country. Invisible spores from these organisms are everywhere looking for a place with enough moisture to grow. And isn’t a gutter or the gutter guard that exact place? The copper threads
woven into our gutter guard systems are natural spore killers. Copper ions are released in water creating a hostile environment for any spore
and making sure a MasterShield filter remains free from organic build up for many years.
What Pine Trees Will MasterShield Protect You From?
MasterShield will keep out all of the needles from common North American pines such as:
- Eastern White Pine – a messy but fast growing tree found in Zones 3-8. It bears five needles per bundle, some say these bundles look like little brushes. It drops pine cones, sap and pollen in the spring along with needles which all contribute to its messiness.
- Western White Pine – also called Silver Pine or California Mountain Pine. It also has needles in bundles of 5 but they tend to stay on the tree longer that the Eastern White Pine (2–3 years, rather than 1.5–2 years). Its cones are larger and it grows taller, too. It’s hardy to Zone 4.
- Sugar Pine – another tree of the Pacific Northwest, this tree is also has 5 needle bundles. It has the largest cones and grows the tallest of the Pinus species of trees.
- Red Pine – also known as a Norway pine. This tree grows very straight and has needles that grow in groups of two. The needles are brittle and break easily. It drops cones and is known for being self pruning. This means that you’ll find the bottom trunk branchless with all the needles falling from the upper limbs of the tree.
- Pitch Pine – a small to medium size tree, it has an irregular shape. Its needles grow in groups of three and can be slightly twisted. It is hardy in Zones 6-9. It tends to grow in sandy soil.
- Jack Pine – grows in Zones 4-6. Another tree common to sandy soil, it can be shrub sized and irregular shaped. Its needles grow in groups of two and can also be twisty. Unusually, it’s pointy cones can curl around the branch where they form.
- Longleaf Pine – has the longest leaves of the eastern pine species, and is the state tree of Alabama. It remains in a grass-like stage for 5-7 years following germination to allow for the root system to develop, after which it grows at an average rate of 13’’ – 24’’ a year until matured (typically when it reaches 60-80’). It takes nearly half of its 300+ year life to fully mature and needs partial to full sun to do so. Has flexible dark green needles that can be 18’’ long, usually in bundles of 3. Its cones are on the larger side. The Longleaf pine can be found from southeastern Virginia to Florida, west through Louisiana to east Texas (Zones 7-10).
- Shortleaf Pine – also known as the southern yellow pine or the shortstraw pine, is native to the area from southern New York state south to northern Florida, west to eastern Oklahoma, and southwest to eastern Texas. It varies in form when fully mature, but usually reaches 60-100’. The needles are typically shorter than 5’’ and are found in bundles of 2-3. The Shortleaf pine drops short, prickly cones during the summer and fall.
- Loblolly Pine – was once an important lumber tree because of its relative abundance. It is one of the fastest growing southern pines (over 24” a year), often reaching 60-100’ when fully mature. Grows in a variety of soils, but needs full sun. Typically found as far north as New Jersey and as far south as Texas and Florida (Zones 6-9). It produces yellow-green needles that are 6-10’’ long and sometimes twisted. Drops brown cones. Since the tree loses its bottom branches as it ages, it is a good shade tree.
- Slash Pine is also a faster growing southern pine (up to 24’’ a year), that stands 75-100’ tall when fully mature. It is often used abundantly in reforestation because of its size and fast growth. Requires moist, acidic soil and partial to full sunlight to grow. It has glossy dark green needles that are up to 12’’ long and are usually in bundles of 2-3. They are primarily found in the southeastern US (Zones 8-10). Its cones are small, elongated, and purple. Similar to the Loblolly, this tree loses bottom branches as it ages, making it a good shade tree.
- Virginia Pine – also known as the Jersey pine and scrub pine, was used medicinally by the Cherokee. It is not fire resistant, unlike many of the other pines on this list, and typically lives no more than 150 years. It is found in eastern US (mostly Zone 6), mostly commonly in Ohio. Usually inhabits sterile soil, which attributes to its scrub-like appearance and slow growth to 40’ when mature. It has short needles that range in color from yellow-green to gray-green. They shed every 3-4 years. It drops cones, sap, and pollen during the summer and fall as nearly all pine trees do.
- Ponderosa Pine – is the major species used for tree-ring dating. Grows to over 200’ according to the National Park Service and large ponderosas can live for 500+ years. Full sunlight is ideal for this wind-resistant and fire-resistant tree that is native to western US. It has medium length yellow-green needles in bundles of 3. The state tree of Montana produces a sweet aroma and was used extensively by Native Americans as food and medicine.
- Pinyon Pine – nearly never grows above 20’ and thrives in its native American Southwest, where it is the state tree of Nevada and New Mexico. It grows at a very slow rate and can live 600+ years. Grows best in well-drained soil that gets full sunlight in Zones 4-8. It has yellow-green needles no more than 2’’ long that shed every 8-9 years. The pinyon produces small brown pine nuts that can be eaten raw or toasted.
- Jeffrey Pine – is also known as the yellow pine or black pine. It is found primarily in California and reaches heights of 80-130’ when fully mature. It grows in high altitude areas. The Jeffrey pine has gray green needles that grow up to 9’’ long. It is similar to the Ponderosa pine, but its cones are different as its barbs point inwards. The scent of this tree is most often described as smelling like butterscotch.
- Lodgepole Pine – has dark green needles that occur in bunches of 2 and are often twisted in a spiral. It can grow in a variety of soil types and is known for being one of the first trees to invade areas after wildfires. Arguably, the Lodgepole pine has the widest range of environmental tolerance of conifers in North America. This tree grows up to 100’ tall. It proliferates most often in fully shaded areas throughout Western US (Zones 4-8). Pollen sheds from the tree in late June.
- as well as needles from other conifers such as cypress, cedar, douglas fir, fir, hemlock and spruce trees.