Pine Straw vs. Mulch: Which Is Best for You?

Posted in Landscaping Services

Nearly every landscape stands to benefit from the presence of plant beds. And if you want your plants to stay healthy and make a statement, you need to invest in the right kind of soil coverage. There is no shortage of options when it comes to supporting, protecting, and nourishing your plant beds, but mulch and pine straw are typically viewed as the two main coverage contenders. At the Budd Group, our landscaping services can install pine needles and/or different types of mulch depending on your needs and goals. The question remains, though: which option is best for your plant beds? Here are the pros and cons of pine straw and mulch.

Pine Straw Pros and Cons

Pine straw often lives under the shadow of mulch, but it’s worth consideration for several reasons. For one thing, pine needles are pretty easy to come by -- you might even have a significant supply in your backyard if you happen to live in a wooded area. This organic abundance means that pine straw is relatively cheap, so gathering large quantities isn’t typically an issue. Additionally, the light, thin nature of pine straw makes it easy to spread, letting you cover large swaths of plant beds with ease. Pine straw is also acidic, which can benefit the growth of certain plants, such as azaleas, magnolias, and hydrangeas. However, this acidity can also count as a negative when it comes to other types of plants. Pine straw comes with other setbacks as well. While it offers plenty of coverage, it needs fairly frequent refreshment -- twice a year is ideal. Moreover, pine needles have a propensity for attracting certain insects, such as termites and centipedes. And lastly, because pine straw is so light, it can be blown away by the wind and make a mess around your property, increasing your need for landscape debris removal services.

The Good and Bad About Mulch

Mulch isn’t without its merits, either. Compared to pine straw, most types of mulch provide a stronger moisture barrier, which helps to sustain plant life. Not only that, but the addition of mulch in particular can aid in your pest control efforts, as most types of mulch are not innately attractive to insects, though there will be some. Best of all, mulch helps provide your soil with essential nutrients that your plants need to thrive. Mulch is pricier than pine straw, and it also provides less coverage. Mulch isn’t as easy to spread around as pine needles. You will need to buy more mulch and exert more energy to cover the same amount of area than you would with pine straw. If not properly laid, mulch can suffocate roots, so it’s important to do your research before putting down mulch.

Why Not Both?

The best option for you depends on your region’s climate, the types of plants you wish to grow and maintain, your landscaping needs and budget, bed location, aesthetic concerns, and so on. Either option can serve you well in the right context. You can get the best of both worlds by combining mulch and pine straw for your plant beds. Whichever option you end up choosing, The Budd Group is happy to install and refresh your plant beds to keep them beautiful and healthy year-round. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!
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