Pine straw makes excellent mulch

Spring Gardening News Distributed 03/30/09

Mulching should be part of garden maintenance at least twice a year, according to LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings. Pine straw is an excellent choice among mulch products currently available on the market, the horticulturist says.

Owings notes that mulching is one of the most important tasks for a successful landscape because ornamental plants benefit greatly from it.

Pine straw creates an environment in which plants grow uniformly. It greatly reduces weeding and watering time and cleaning up after heavy rainfalls. It also releases nutrients and organic matter into the soil as it decomposes and improves soil texture.

Owings recommends an initial 3-inch layer for shrubs and trees. Use slightly less on bedding plants, roses and herbaceous perennials. One-half pound per square foot will give this desired depth.

Most bales sold in Louisiana weigh 25-51 pounds and contain 3-6 cubic feet of mulch. A 25-pound, 3-cubic-foot bale will cover 50 square feet 3 inches deep. Annual or semi-annual reapplication of pine straw mulch can be done to a depth of 1 inch. When reapplying, one bale of pine straw should go three times as far.

Good mulching benefits plants, the soil and surrounding areas in many ways. Owings says these benefits include conserving soil moisture, preventing crusting of the soil surface, maintaining uniformity in soil temperature, reducing weed seed germination and subsequent growth and preventing upward splashing of soil fungus.

Good mulching also lessens the possibilities of cold damage, slows erosion, prevents soil compaction and adds to the beauty of the landscape.


Editor: Mark Claesgens

3/31/2009 2:47:20 AM
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