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Should You Use Bark Mulch or Pine Straw?

For plants to survive, it needs proper insulation, nutrients and moisture that it can get from mulching, which is why this is a vital process for doing organic gardening. 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, organic mulch is any form of organic material that’s placed on the surface of the soil including leaves, tree bark, straw or pine needles that is intended to prevent sudden temperature changes to soil, suppress weed growth, avoid moisture to evaporate and add organic matter back to the soil which helps in improving its structure even further.

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.

Other benefits of using bark mulch is that, it is protecting the plant root systems from sudden temperature changes, retaining moisture and preventing moisture evaporation, good for improving the soil structure as it breakdown into organic matter, can lower the pH level of the soil, helps in preventing erosion, comes in different color, has a lifespan of over a year, best when applied either in spring or fall and can float with heavy rains.

Pine straw mulch will of course don’t give up without a fight because whatever the bark mulch can do, it can as well such as providing protection to the root systems of the plant from sudden temperature change, partnered best with organic material for modifying the soil, has a lower pH level of soil that’s more acidic compared to bark, prevents soil erosion and at the same time, more affordable compared to bark mulch with a life spanning for 6 months.

Pine straw is basically a natural organic mulch that’s easier to disperse and lighter to handle than using bags 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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