Pine bark mulch saves your garden plants in winter by protecting them from extreme cold weather. It also helps your garden plants to produce 50% more flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Pine mulch keeps the soil temperature low in the summer season.
Also, keep the soil moist so that plants cannot die due to hot waves or loss of water (dryness).
If you are a grower and want all the benefits of mulches then try pine bark mulch in your garden. You will like the results.
In today’s post you will learn about pine bark mulch, how to use it, pros and cons, where to buy it, Is it safe for plants and pets, etc.
Let’s start from the basics
What is pine bark mulch?
Pine bark mulch is made from pine tree bark. It is light in weight and is easy to spread all over the garden in just a few minutes. It has its unique benefits over other mulches. It is the protective layer of your garden plants and soil. No weeds when there is mulch in the lawn and garden.
In garden stores, we have pure pine bark mulch and mixed pine bark mulch. Garden stores mix spruce and fir to make the mulch suitable for every type of lawn and garden. Sometimes they mix more things in it. If you are buying it from your local garden store then confirm the total percentage of shredded pine bark in the bag.
The pine mulch is available in different textures like other mulches.
Fine shred mulch, double shredded mulch, and pine nuggets.
Don’t get confused by the name pine nuggets it is also a mulch the only difference is it comes in big chips. Pine tree nuggets are big in size so they take a long time to break down and decompose in the soil. Whereas fine and double shredded pine mulch start melting into the soil after 2 years.
Types of pine bark mulches
There is a total of 4 types of pine mulches available for growing different vegetables and flower plants. You can choose according to your plant types and garden needs.
Fine Shredded Pine mulch:
This fine mulch is suitable in compact gardens where we grow plants in a group. By spreading this fine grade mulch your little plants get support to stand firm. Also, it helps soil to retain moisture for a long time. This way your seedlings never go out of water and nutrients. for delicate plants and shoots always use fine grade pine mulch.
Big size pine barks are called pine nuggets. This mulch is the most suitable in heavy wind and rainy areas. Where small mulch can be flown away from strong wind and rainwater. These nuggets stay in their place in all weather conditions. Also, you can use pine bark nuggets on sloppy areas.
Premium bark mulch:
This quality of pine bark is suitable to grow plant-like rose plants. Because it is perfect to grow plants that like to grow in little acidic soil. The two fold press technique is used to make premium grade pine barks.
Double Shredded Pine bark:
This pine bark is best for top dressing where you need to give colors to your garden. Do not use it in heavy windy areas. No doubt it starts melting in the soil within 2 years. But it looks great in the garden and around big trees. It gives a neat and clean look to your lawn and garden.
How it is different from other mulches?
It is organic mulch and is easily available in all parts of the country. The best part is it is cheaper than the rubber and mineral shreds. Also, it enriches the soil when it breaks down. It is a soil conditioner for the garden soil. The best part is you can add it to any potting mix and soil. Where other mulches get weak in the summer heat. Pine bark mulch does not lose its color and works well to save water from evaporation.
Benefits of using pine bark mulch in your garden.
Hold moisture in Soil:
Keeping the soil moist for growing plants is a very important step of gardening. But on hot summer days, it is not possible to keep the soil moist because the water get evaporates. It is also not possible to give water to plants 3 times a day. Even it is not allowed as per the law in some states.
Mulch protects the soil from hot sunrays and the water in the soil evaporates 75% less than ever before. It also keeps the plant roots temperature under control. In winters it acts as insulation and keeps the roots warm. Whereas in summer it protects them from direct hot sun rays.
Reduce weed problem:
It will reduce weed problems and also reduces the chances of nutrient deficiency in plants. The weeds will grow in unplanted areas and eat up all nutrients. When weeds are present in the garden plants always show signs of nutrients deficiency.
The mulch covers the unplanted area around your plants. And block the sunlight to weed seeds. They do grow because they do not get sunlight. On the other hand, your plants grow healthy because they get the full sunlight and a good amount of nutrients.
Add humus to soil:
Humus is naturally found nutrients in the soil by the decomposing of organic matter. Like in forests the upper layer of the soil is total humus. Because the leaves and branches of plants that fall on the area get decompose in the soil. This process adds a good amount of organic nutrients to it. Pine bark also add humus when it gets completely decompose into the soil.
Soil retention and erosion control
When you mix pie bark of medium size deep in the soil this prevents soil erosion. Soil erosion is the condition in which the upper layer of the soil gets depleted. The erosion process gets faster in windy areas. If you are living in the valley don’t worry about soil erosion. But if you live in hilly areas you need to consider pine barks.
Pine bark gives excellent color to your lawn and garden. if we compare pine bark with other mulches it retains its natural color for more than 2 years. Where other mulches fade due to sunlight in 6 months. Pine bark remain bright pinkish-brown for more than 2 years. The decoration is also necessary to make a garden beautiful and appealing.
Is pine mulch bad for soil?
No pine bark is not bad for soil and plants. But if your soil is acidic in nature then do not use mulch made from the pine trees. Because the pine barks are a little on the acidic side on the pH scale. So, for normal pH soil or Alkaline soil pine barks are best to mix with.
Does pine mulch kill plants?
Pine mulch is safe for plants and all types of gardens. But the condition is where pine mulch is used the growing plants should be acidic soil tolerant.
Is it safe for pets?
Yes, it is safe for pets. Cocoa bean mulch is not safe for pets and sometimes local garden stores add pine barks in cocoa bean mulch. Do not buy such mulch if you have pets at home.
If you do not have pets but are suffering from unwanted intruders (rodents, deer) then use cocoa bean mulch in your garden. They will not come close to your garden.
Pine bark mulch pros and cons
Keep soil temperature under control
Protect your plants
Best to support delicate plants
Different forms are available for different gardens
Conditions the soil
Enrich soil when decomposed
Little acidic in nature
Not best to use in container gardening
Problems with pine bark mulch
Normally pine bark does not cause any harm to plants and the soil. But used for more than 5 to 6 years it alters the soil pH and eats up the nitrogen. This affects the growth of your plants and yield.
Pine bark mulch and soil pH: As we know pine bark is a little bit acidic this acid goes to the soil when used for a long time. And the soil becomes acidic in nature. This affects the pants that like to live in alkaline nature. But on the other hand, it is best to make alkaline soil a little acidic for growing plants like roses.
To prevent pine bark mulch from increasing your garden soil acidity. Use hardwood after every 2 years and then again use pine bark.
Pine bark nuggets: They cause problems only in heavy rainfall areas. Due to their big size, they start floating in the water. This is the only problem with the large size nuggets. Otherwise, they are best to use in sloppy places.
If you like to mulch your garden then use pine bark. Do not use large nuggets in your lawn and garden. Because nuggets take a long time to decompose and this will increase the soil acidity to great extent. Fine grade pine bark mulch is best for growing plants like herbs, vegetables, and houseplants