Pine straw vs. mulch

Which is better for your flower gardens--mulch or pine straw?
  13 answers
  • Lisa Lisa on Apr 10, 2014
    This may be just personal preference, but to me a flower garden is about the flowers, not so much about what's at their feet. For this reason, I prefer to use a dark mulch rather than other choices. I use mulch for two reasons: to cut back on weeds and to reduce the need for watering. I am not familiar with pine straw, being in the northeast, but if it performs like mulch and you're happy with the color (contrasting with flower hues), then I imagine it's mostly a matter of personal preference.

  • Joetta Burton Joetta Burton on Apr 10, 2014

  • Sue M Sue M on Apr 11, 2014
    Definitely Mulch...

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Apr 11, 2014
    I completely agree with Lisa. Pine straw is a form of mulch.

  • Cheryl HD Cheryl HD on Apr 11, 2014
    Pine raises soil acidity, so I'd stick with mulch (reg kind).

  • Linda B Linda B on Apr 11, 2014
    Both are mulch. I use pine straw because here in Georgia it is plentiful and cheap. It doesn't actually make the soil more acidic. And it covers way more space.

  • Satchmo Satchmo on Apr 12, 2014
    I use pine straw mulch that comes in bales. It is cheaper to use than most other mulches, and it does not attract termites the way some wood based mulches can.

  • Mulch does not attract termites in so much as food source- termites are attracted to the moisture and if up against your home could provide them shelter (since termites do not go out in the sun) to tunnel there way into your home. Bagged mulch is safe to use around your home but you do not put mulch up against your home if you are concerned with or have a high termite problem. Cedar mulch and Cypress mulch are, and this is my opinion, the best mulch because they are bug resistant and look nice. However, they are expensive and many big box stores sell hardwood mulch because it is way cheaper. any mulch helps with weed control but only if you put it at least 3" thick and I do mine at least 4" initially in a new bed. Mulch decomposes and after years your soil will be so rich that any (almost any) plant will grow! My caution is for those who order the mulch by the truckload and heaven forbid get it from the dump (which many do here in my area where it is filled with weeds, ground up ivy, pallets, etc). Inspect the mulch to look for large pieces and ask them where they get the wood! I have seen a neighbor get it delivered with nails and pieces of pallet -which some pallets are treated wood and can contain chemicals! I think personal preference and price are the questions to ask-in my area wood mulch is cheaper than pine. I prefer wood mulch because I like the look. So no right or wrong answer because it is personal choice. Happy gardening!

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Apr 13, 2014
    I do agree with Renee that mulch is largely a matter of personal preference, but I will say that there are significant concerns over the renewability of cypress mulch. Here in Florida, Dade County has banned the use of cypress mulch and it cannot be used by the state DOT. Furthermore, cypress mulch holds more water than other types of mulch, so less is available to the plant. See more on the pros and cons of a variety of types of mulches here:

    • Linda B Linda B on Apr 13, 2014
      @Douglas Hunt this is why I don't buy cyprus mulch even on sale.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 13, 2014
    I personally prefer the look of pine straw...I think it is neater. I was delighted to learn of rubber mulch that is comes in black...and in rolls. I think I will get some as edging this year. It is supposed to last 5 years and lets water in but impedes weeds.

  • Peggy Peggy on Apr 15, 2014
    Thanks for all the advice! Now if only the weather would cooperate I'd be in business!!