Why use Pine Straw Mulch?
Image example of a pine straw bed.
There are other mulches but one stands out as best!
No matter where you live some kind of mulch is used in garden beds whether it is cypress, hardwood, or pine straw. Landscapers buy mulch at the local nurseries. Mulches are decorative, keep weeds to a minimum, and conserve moisture and warmth during winter for your plants. There is a best choice though when it comes to wood based mulches ( Pine Straw ).
Image example of mulch that is not pine straw – brown hardwood mulch.
I have a favorite of all mulches but Pine Straw is the best for the Nashville area.
Although not my best cypress mulch is one of my favorites because of its beautiful color and strength against weather conditions. When you use Grade A cypress mulch you can count on beauty and that it will stay put during storms because of its stringy nature. cypress trees are harvested for wood in furniture making and in one of the processes of making wood out of a cypress tree the bark is stripped off. This bark is later shredded to make mulch. You know if the outer layer of this tree is being protected by this layer it will make a tough material to survive the weather. Cypress Bark mulch is stringy unlike Hardwood mulches which lay completely flat another type is hardwood mulch.
Why use Pine Straw Mulch? How hardwood mulches are made and why pine straw is better.
Hardwood mulches are made from trees used in furniture and building materials. Pine is not considered a hard wood so it is not used in making hardwood mulches. Maple, Oak, and Ash are common trees that are used in furniture making and building materials and on the way to becoming your favorite table the bark is removed to become mulch. With hardwood mulches a dye is used to color the mulch like Brown, Black, or even Red. These dyes break down with time leaving the hardwood a dull color compared to when you first put it down.
Image example of mulch that is not pine straw – black hardwood mulch.
A negative of hardwood mulches is they take away nitrogen, or is it a restriction of air flow?
Another feature of hardwood mulches is the fact that you will need to fertilize after putting it around your plants. Mulches made from hardwoods draw nitrogen out of the soil which will leave your plants yellowing and needing some nutrients. I’ve always heard pine products are better because they don’t rob the soil of nitrogen but perhaps there is another way of thinking about this problem. Air flow to the roots is very important for the vitality of the plant so it stands to reason that the more dense hardwood mulches can be weighing down and restricting air flow and thereby depriving the roots of vital nutrients. Pine straw would be similar to a pile of french fries which would allow for more air flow and so more nutrients are available to the plants.
Image example pine straw bales in the back of a truck.
Why use Pine Straw Mulch? How pine straw mulch is better.
Last is pine mulch and by this I mean pine straw or shredded pine bark not the lower grade where you find lots of tan pieces in the mix. Shredded pine bark mulch should be a reddish brown with very little tan and pine straw should have no tan at all. The tan pieces are the deeper layer of the tree which is softer and will deteriorate faster. Better mulch is worth paying for because it will pay you in the long run from not having to replace it often. Another feature of Pine Straw is that it breaks down Acidic and most plants in the landscape are acid loving. Using Shredded Pine Bark and Pine Straw is the best option for your garden beds because your plants will be healthier.
Mulches are made from parts of trees but there is one product that is the very best to use ( Pine Straw).
Cypress is a great option for a mulch but it isn’t as known for benefits as Pine Straw is. Hard wood mulches are great for variety in colors but draw nitrogen out of the soil as they break down. Advise your lawn care professional that they should be using Pine Mulches. I am so glad there is the option to use Pine Straw because my Acid loving plants will thank me again and again as they grow in healthy acidic soil courtesy of my Pine Mulch.