Use of Georgia pine straw as a ground cover mulch in landscaping around trees and in flower beds has been popular in the southern United States for the past 25 years. It has become one of the most widely used mulches for all size projects ranging from residential flower beds to industrial complexes and highway landscapes. It’s popularity will continue to grow because it is clean, attractive and provides exceptional value for most landscaping situations.
Pine Straw is a renewable resource that is harvested each year in Georgia. You do not have to cut down the trees to collect it. Pine trees in Georgia naturally shed their dead needles each year. These needles are raked into bales of pine straw and used as landscape mulch.
Pine Straw helps provide favourable growing conditions and stimulates healthy plant development because pine straw:
Insulates tender roots from temperature extremes, keeping soils warm during cool spells and cool during warm spells, conserves soil moisture by reducing water evaporation rates and moisture loss, eliminates erosion caused by wind and rain splash impact, protects against soil compaction by reducing the rain directly on the soil surface, and aids in promoting favourable soil tilth for healthy root growth.
Consumers and landscapers prefer the portability and ease of transport afforded by the compact lightweight bales. Each bale will expand to cover an area of 50 square feet 3 inches thick.Landscape Maintenance costs are reduced because the thick layer of straw hinders the establishment of weeds, reducing weeding time, cleanup and edging.Pine Straw decomposes slowly over time. Approximately 1/3 of the initial application rate (1 inch of material) is required each year to maintain depth and revitalize the color.
Many people don’t realize that pine straw serves as an insect and rodent repellent, which is a major plus compared to other mulch options.
As pine straw breaks down, it releases organic matter. Pine straw contains low levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium.
Pine needles interlock and hold together during hard rains, heavy winds, and even on landscape with considerable slopes. Pine straw doesn’t float and wash out of beds like wood mulches. This helps keep walkway’s cleaner further reducing maintenance efforts.
Pine straw remains loose and friable and does not form a top crust like grass clippings, leaves and some wood mulches. Loose mulch allows water to infiltrate readily into the soil for plant availability and avoids wasteful runoff of irrigation. The large air pockets, however, help prevent it from remaining excessively wet and damaging roots.
Weed Control, Maintenance Costs
Pine straw greatly reduces weed control efforts as wood mulches have a higher tendency to import weed seed in an ideal seedbed for germination.
Pine straw around trees reduces the need to use string trimmers (“weed-eaters”) around the base of each tree. This reduces maintenance costs, but also prevents plant death from girdling wounds caused by the trimmer.
The fine texture and uniform colour of pine straw is simply more aesthetically pleasing to some users. The non-detracting, earthly façade brings out the colour, contrast and texture of landscapes. Pine Straw also prevents plants, flowers and fruit from becoming splashed with mud. Added annually it gives landscape a fresh clean and renewed appearance.
Pine Straw changes a rich auburn colour when wet.
Pine Straw breaks down more slowly than wood mulch, so it needs to be re-applied less often.
Pine Straw is easily handled because of its lightweight.