Sunday, June 29, 2008

Georgia Pine straw

The Saint says I have an Obsession with Pine straw. I don't believe I have an obsession at all. I just like the look of fresh pine straw used as a mulch.

We have many pine trees in our yard so the look of the straw within the landscaping fits perfect.

A good base of straw also is an asset in weed control.

I don't use fertilizer much and would rather the nutrients in the pine straw do the work for me so that would be several reasons as to why I spread so much pine straw each year.

Here is a load (27 bales) I picked up this spring that I spread around in my gardens.

I spread pine straw throughout in Islands, Planters, The Flower Garden, under bushes & trees and around the patio area. I have spread about 75 bales this spring.

You never know what condition of straw you will find as some people will allow twigs and pine cones to be picked up in the bales. I have recently found a pretty good place to purchase the stuff that is really clean. The primo stuff is the Red Long Leaf but hard to come by not to mention pricey. I paid $3.85 per bale for short needle and it is sort of dry, meaning I will have to top it with additional straw because it will break down before summers end.

The process I use around trees or bushes is as follows...

I take a flat shovel and dig out the grass around each tree or bush to form a perfect circle. When possible, I use the old sod elsewhere in the yard. This day, I was working around the Forsythia bush.

I often step back to see if the circle is even and large enough.

Once I have the circle exactly how I want it, then I am ready to spread the pine straw.


I spread the straw fairly thick to keep sunlight from penetrating to allow weeds to sprout...

Here is the final look of the freshly mulched Forsythia...

I really do like the clean look of the pine straw and think it adds to the natural look of our woods with many pine trees...

Here are some additional pictures of places where I have spread pine straw.


We had a real problem with drainage in this area of the backyard. This area is a natural run-off for rainfalls. We tried grass to no avail so I came up with a natural look of pine straw instead. It works great and stays in place after a good rain fall.


I will post on this island in the future. It is interesting how it evolved for us.


This island breaks up the large paved driveway for us. This island was in place when we bought the house.

The Saint wanted to remove the island and pave over it but after the words divorce were brought up, he backed off of that one. Not really just kidding, I would never divorce my Saint over asphalt but he got the point of how mad I would be. Now he too enjoys the island even though it is a bit of a challenge for him to back the boat into the shed with the island in the way!


We have two large planters in front of the house and they are both filled with pine straw as a mulch as well.

The pine straw keeps the Japanese Maple trees, Camellia and Nandina bushes cool in the summer and warm during the winter.


The Flower Garden gets its share of pine straw also. I usually try to plant things which like the acid from pine needles but this year I added some new plants and did not research to see if they would like the nutrient from the pine straw. I may end up loosing some plants due to my lack of research. But if I loose any plants, that will make room for more next year!

Here is one of the many Crepe Myrtle trees that we keep pine straw under. I also keep the straw under all the bushes and trees that are in the grassy portions of the yard. The trees in the woods provide their own mulch each fall by dropping tons of leaves and pine straw.

It is a shame I cannot use the pine straw in our woods but I prefer it stay there as a natural look plus leaves get mixed in with the pine needles and I don't like that look in my landscaped areas. Looks fine in the woods and county right of way though.

I do Spread a lot of pine straw but now that you have seen the look of things, don't you think it is worth it? I know I enjoy the look of it and it last all summer long and gets a fresh thin coat for winter.

If you build up too much, it will mold really badly and can cause disease to the trees and plants. I remove the old straw every other year to keep the mold away.

I usually take the old straw up to the county right of way and spread it around to keep a natural look on the roadside.

This picture was snapped one spring when the azaleas were in bloom up on the street.

Now that you have seen my pine straw mulching, what do you think? Do I have an obsession with spreading Georgia Pine straw, In the Garden?


  1. I don't think it's an obsession. The pine needles do provide food & protection for your plants. When I was able to mow I used the cut grass as mulch. It worked great & it wasn't put into land fills or such. It decayed over time & made the soil richer under the plants therefore it fed the plants. Not to mention it made the yard look dressed--finishing off of a neat job.

  2. Good morning Lola! I know of a lot of people that use grass clippings as a mulch for borders and such. We have a mulching blade on our mower so the clippings are chopped up into tiny pieces and remain on top of the grass as nutrient. I like natural fertilizers when possible...

    I wrote this posting a while back and wish I had updated the picture of the crepe myrtle before sending this to print. She is absolutely beautiful with branches full of blooms right now! I am afraid if I try to work it in now that I will mess up the format.

  3. Ah, so that is what the county right of way looks like. I do think spreading the pine straw is worth it. It looks great! So neat and functional. No, not an obsession-wait a minute-you aren't out there after dark doing this are you?;) And up early in the morning?

  4. I don't think its an obsession with pine straw...maybe with having a nice yard but what's wrong with that? Anyone who has yard gardens has that obsession. Everything looks reeeally nice, I agree with Tina, the country right of way looks good.
    I don't blame you for not adding the new photo, the other day I wanted to add to my last sentence and deleted the whole post! Tried to say "and", it was nice and saved nd. Never do that again!

  5. Well, of course I am out after dark and first thing in the morning! LOL... Saint always tells me it is time for me to come inside once the street lights come on! I say, Once our backyard street light comes on, I can see better then! LOL....

    I like the lay out also. Everything is separated really well and color spread about. I am finding myself liking islands more and more and am in the process of starting a new one. I am going small to not freak out the Saint. Ha, only Cannas and Caladium to start and this fall look out, as the mums may be added....

    Yep, Dawn, I was so paranoid about loosing the entire posting that I just left well enough alone. I should not write up postings so far in advance then I would have updated pictures when ready to post them. Oh well, all a learning process with me....

    Headed to town for errands and burgers! Yum!

  6. Then maybe a wee bit obsessed...

  7. Skeeter if you remember I told you a while back you had OCD over the pine straw so I guess I am the only one except the saint. I think Dawn hit the nail on the is with the yard, not the straw. but if you did not have it, there would be no great yard at Skeeter's and the Saint's.

  8. Don't let anyone give you a hard time about pine straw! It is the best mulch! It's neat, smells good and is much better looking then nugget mulch any day!

    BTW, great looking beds.


  9. Oh I love the look of the pine mulch. I wish we could get it as a mulching medium here in PA but alas it is not an option.

  10. hi there, never heard of Pine Straw before but it makes everything look really neat.
    About what to grow under Pine Trees.. have you thought about rhododendrum or azalea? They like ground that like that and you see that over here a lot. Take care! Andrea

  11. Tina, dont tell me you have never worked in your garden in the dark. LOL

    Jean, I dont believe I will be going to Rehab over my little pine obsession then. LOL...

    Gail, thanks for the kind words. The pine straw looks so fresh and smells great with a rainfall. Too bad we have not been getting any of that rainfall though! Was raining in town on us and we were so excited then arrived home to find a dry yard! arggg...

    Tranquil Solitude, This is the first place that I have lived where we see Pine Straw in bales for sale in every nursery and at roadside stands! Lowes and Home Depot even sell the stuff! I prefer it over bark mulches and it stays in place better then other type mulches..

    Andrea, I have 2 azaleas in the driveway island (click on the picture to enlarge for better view) and we have about 50 others scattered throughout the front woods. You will see the ones up on the street in the last picture. Azaleas are a big thing down here in Georgia...

  12. Oh yes, in the dark-after midnight. But we all know I am obsessed-the question is, "Is Skeeter?" Looks that way to me. Anyone else obsessed? Working in the garden in the dark with just a streetlight and maybe a lamp or two? Gotta get your work done at some point.

  13. I think its a healthy obsession... so I guess not an obsession. Your garden does need the pine saw. And I do like the look of it after applying the pine saw. I think it looks great!

  14. Okay, upon reflecting a bit, I would not call it an obsession but rather passion. We are passionate about our gardens...

    And Yes, DP in a healthy manner, and in more ways then one! LOL…

  15. I had a nice evening watching old movies on Classic Channel....One was with Jimmy Stewart, "Harvey" about a giant imaginary Rabbit. It was hilarious! Love those good ole movies...

    Hope everyone had a nice weekend...
    Good Night...

  16. I love the pine straw! And it is much easier to haul and spread than mulch.

  17. Hey DP and Jillybean!

    Skeeter, Passion it is.

  18. Yes Jillybean, it is much easier to haul around. I feel like a true country gal when I take the truck for a load! Saint is usually not involved with my pine straw hauling, loading and spreading. He thinks I spend way too much money on it so I just get it when he is at the office making me that money to spend! LOL...

  19. Pine needle straw is ridiculously expensive up here in the Midwest. My mom saves hers for me and it does indeed suppress weeds WAY better than shredded bark mulch.
    ~ Monica

  20. Hello Garden Faerie!
    I like the pine straw so much and will miss it if we ever leave here! It will be too costly elsewhere. When we first starting purchasing the straw in 2002, it was running $3.00 for a large bale. Now the bales are much smaller (1/4 size loss) and cost $3.75 and up! I am lucky as I get so much straw that they charge me the Contractors Price!