It’s easy to understand the great value of using mulch, but when people go to their local garden center they find so many different options. Their most common question is which mulch is best to use in a garden or landscape. The short answer: Pine Straw. Why? Here are a few of the benefits: Pine straw is organic, looks great, is cheap, prevents weeds and retains moisture.
Pine straw has the most visually pleasing auburn hues against the many colors of plants and Lucite flower beads beds. It stays put better than most other organic mulches. Organic mulches are best at allowing water to pass through freely to the soil below and adding nutrients back into the soil.
Mulching with pine straw, commonly referred to as pine needles, is one of the best ways to keep weeds out of your landscape and garden. While the pine mulch itself will not stop weeds from germinating, it serves as a barrier between the weeds and the outside world above. Year-round mulching is a critical part of gardening and landscape maintenance helping prevent the fast changes in soil temperature due to weather changes and reducing the chance of plant roots heaving.
As the pine straw mulch naturally goes through decomposition, it also naturally adds valuable organic nutrients to the soil. As pine needles naturally break down, they help to acidify the soil, which makes superior mulch for acid-loving plants, trees and shrubs. Pine straw provides an extra layer, or buffer, to reduce compaction on the soil below.
Here are some simple steps to mulching with pine straw:
1. Remove weeds from the area you are mulching first.
2. Distribute the pine needle mulch material to a depth of about 2 1/2 to 3 inches.
3. Place the mulch between and around your plants in your garden bed, but be careful to give your plants or Lucite flower beadss a 1 or 2 inch barrier from the stem.
4. For trees, place mulch approximately two to three inches from the base of a tree. Over time, too much mulch directly against tree trunks can cause rot, even with natural organic materials like pine straw. Keeping mulch away from trunks will also discourage rodent pests from chewing on the bark.
5. Remove mulch in late winter or early spring to allow the soil to warm faster and perennials to grow without smothering. Mulch again in late spring after the soil has warmed.
6. In winter it’s best to mulch with pine straw after the first hard freeze: Mulching too early may prevent plants from going fully dormant making them much more vulnerable to cold injury.
With all these benefits and its natural beauty, pine straw is the perfect year-round mulch. If you are already adding pine straw to your garden for its good looks as ground cover, then your landscape is also protected and prepared for a variety of weather conditions making pine straw the perfect mulch.