Should You Use Bark Mulch or Pine Straw?

In doing organic gardening, mulching is something you should not take for granted as this provides the insulation, nutrients and moisture needed by plants to survive. Drafting a plan of how to mulch plants in spring as well as fall, it will add nutrients and decompose back to the soil which benefits the plant to survive.

Technically speaking, organic mulch is any kind of organic material placed over the soil similar to straw, tree bark, leaves or even pine needles in order to prevent moisture to evaporate, extreme temperature changes in the soil and suppressing weed growth while adding organic matter back to the soil to further improve its structure.

As a matter of fact, bark mulch and pine straw are the most used forms of mulch when doing organic gardening. Needless to say each option carries unique characteristics and to give you an example, bark mulch is a byproduct from trees that are sent to sawmill cut into lumber while pine straw originates from a sustainable resource from pine trees when shedding needles late fall.

There are many other benefits for utilizing bark mulch on organic gardening like the fact that it lowers the soil’s pH level, helps to prevent erosion, available in different colors, best when applied in fall and spring, retain moisture and prevent it from evaporating, protect the root systems of the plant from abrupt changes in temperature, a life of at least a year and can float even with heavy rains.

Of course, pine straw mulch isn’t far behind as it is also capable of doing pretty much what bark mulch can do like protecting the root systems of the plant from extreme temperature change from hot to cold and vice versa, best coupled with other organic material for soil modification, has a little lower soil pH level that is more acidic compared to bark mulch, helps in preventing erosion, and typically more affordable than bark mulch a lifespan of around 6 months so best applied two times a year.

As a matter of fact, pine straw is a natural organic mulch that is lighter and easier to disperse than a bag of bark mulch. By the time when the pine straw is in place, it does not compact much like other mulches in the market allowing it to provide better airflow to the soil, retain moisture in itself and also, the water infiltration benefits the ability of nutrients to soak better in the soil.

The truth is, there is no definitive answer which is best to use, bark mulch or pine straw because at the end of the day, it will depend on someone’s requirements.

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