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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.

When it comes to organic gardening, two of the most used forms of mulch were actually bark and pine straw mulch. 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 of course has its own secrets, it can protect root systems of the plant from changes in the temperature like from hot to cold and vice versa, it’s best partnered with organic material for soil modification, has a slightly lower pH level that’s more acidic than bark mulch, helps in preventing soil erosion and also, it’s more economical compared to bark mulch with a lifespan of roughly 6 months.

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.

Basically, the answer whether to use pine straw or bark mulch lies to personal preferences as each option is best in their own rights.

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