Landscaping with Pine Straw
A NATURAL GARDEN MULCH
Pine straw, or pine needle mulch, is considered a natural by-product and a practical and common use as organic garden mulch. (Organic mulch is any mulch made of natural substances such as bark, wood chips, leaves, pine needles or grass clippings. They decompose over time.)
Affordable, attractive and EASY TO APPLY, pine straw is a popular choice for flower beds as a ground cover for landscaping. Pine needles help provide excellent growing conditions for healthy trees, plants and shrubs. Because of its acidity, plants, trees and shrubs such as camellias, azaleas, hydrangeas, gardenias, ferns, dogwoods, magnolias, holly and evergreens thrive. It is also ideal for lining walkways and seating areas not already paved.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PINE STRAW?
- Pine straw mulch is aesthetically pleasing in the landscape. It looks natural with most landscapes and provides a neutral backdrop that highlights your plants.
- Pine straw holds it color longer than most other mulches.
- Pine straw is lightweight so bales are easier to apply and require less maintenance for your garden or landscape.
- Pine straw detracts against termites.
- Pine straw lasts longer and does not float or wash out of beds as wood mulches tend to do.
- Pine straw insulates roots of plants from the cold.
- Pine straw mulch prevents soil compaction. The needles interlock and hold together, reducing the impact of rain on the surface of the soil.
- Pine straw promotes soil and plant health. It’s needles are high in nitrogen. When the needles start to decompose, the material acts like a fertilizer to your plants, shrubs and trees.
- Pine needles are excellent as weed deterrent. (When using pine straw to reduce the amount of weeds in your landscape, apply the needles at about 3 inches deep.)
ARE ALL TYPES OF PINE STRAW THE SAME?
No. There are two types of pine straw available – ‘long needle’ and ‘slash’ (short needle). We carry both types. Generally, we recommend the long needle pine because of its advantages over slash.
Long needle pine straw comes from the Southern Yellow Pine tree. The needles are 12 to 18 inches in length. The long needle pine holds its color longer, decomposes at a slower rate and spreads further in the landscape. It is also uniform in color and texture and is considered the premium variety of straw for landscaping use.
Short needle pine, or ‘slash’, comes from either the Loblolly Pine or the Slash Pine. The needles are 6 to 9 inches in length.
WHAT TYPES OF PLANTS, TREES, SHRUBS GROW WELL WITH PINE STRAW?
Because of pine straw’s acidic nature, azaleas, hostas, ferns, hydrangea, magnolias, rhododendrons, snapdragons and geraniums thrive.
HOW MUCH PINE STRAW DO I NEED?
Application of your pine straw should be at least 3 inches thick. We sell our pine straw by the bale. One bale will cover approximately 50 to 60 square feet with a 3 inch thickness.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I RE-APPLY PINE STRAW?
How often depends on its use. If the straw is being used to protect plants and help improve the soil, it should be applied annually. If it is being used for decorative purposes, it should be applied twice a year.
HOW DO I APPLY PINE STRAW?
Pine straw is fairly easy to apply. Simply remove the bale ties and take handfuls of straw, shaking it over the application area. You will want to apply to a depth of approximately 3 inches, adding 1 inch annually to maintain a good depth.