How To Lay Pine Straw – A Comprehensive 8 Steps Guide

Pine straw’s rich, red color adds brightness and energy to your garden, resulting in a setting that is guaranteed to capture the eye. However, the advantages go beyond appearances. Pine straw can also be used as an organic garden mulch. When it comes to yardwork, I completely get the DIY mentality. However, if you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need to learn how to do it correctly so that your grass looks great! I’ll show you how to lay pine straw in this article.

Pine straw is made from pine trees that drop their needles throughout the year, as the name suggests. Without chopping down or injuring the trees, the needles are hand-raked, cleaned, and baled after they fall to the ground. Pine straw is very environmentally friendly landscaping and mulching material as a result of this.

Pine straw serves to avoid soil compaction and erosion by preventing water evaporation from the soil, weed growth, and soil compaction. Pine straw also protects plants from freezing temperatures by maintaining a constant temperature in the soil surrounding them. This is especially crucial for plants that are younger or have shallow root systems. Pine straw will also improve soil structure as it decomposes. Pine straw types vary by area, and coverage is determined by the kind, bale size, and application depth.

Things You’ll Need

  • Gloves
  • Eye Protection Glasses
  • Pine Straw

How to Lay Pine Straw

Pine straw should be applied at least once a year, according to most experts. If you’re using it for decoration, you can apply it once or twice a year to keep the landscape looking new.

  1. The dry pine needles may scratch your hands; therefore, to avoid that, put on gloves.
  2. Thoroughly weed the mulching area as the mulch will not smother weeds that have already emerged.
  3. Cut the ties on the pine straw mulch bale, and with your hands, gently remove the material.
  4. Spread the large handful of mulch on the ground, but remember to keep it 2-3 inches away from the plant, shrub, and tree stems.
  5. Apply mulch to the planting bed by the handful until you have a 3-inch thick layer of fluffy, homogenous mulch.
  6. To help the mulch settle to 1 1/2 inch depth, water it in with a hose. The water aids in knitting the needles, providing a protective layer that will not wash away while allowing air to reach the soil below.
  7. Top-dress the moistened mulch layer with another inch of needles when it has settled to achieve the necessary 2-inch pine straw mulch layer.
  8. As the needles decompose in the soil, reapply every year.

Tucking In The Ends

You’ll want to tuck the pine straw around the edges after you’ve spread it out. The tucking technique guarantees that the pine straw stays within the borders and gives your landscaping beds a “raised” appearance. But there’s something else you need to do first before you can “tuck” the pine straw.

  • Make sure to put a thin layer (approximately a foot wide) around the OUTSIDE of the bed’s border as well when installing pine straw in a landscaping bed.
  • Then, standing within the bed after you’ve spread the pine straw, use a leaf rake to drag the pine straw you spread outside the bed towards the bed line.
  • This will provide the appearance of a fluffed-up raised bed.
  • To tuck pine straw, you can either use a leaf blower or a shovel.

2 Methods of Rolling the Pine Straw

Rolling pine straw can be done either with a blower or by hand.

1. By Hand

  • With both hands, press the excess straw back into the bed and beneath where you had spread it a foot over the bed edge.
  • Take a step back and move on to the next segment.
  • Continue around the perimeter of the bed.

2. By Blower

  • Stand around 5-8 feet away from the bed’s edge.
  • Clean up or remove any excess straw on the lawn by blowing towards the bed.
  • Do not blow too close or too hard since this will blow the straw away.
  • Blow at the ground near the bed’s edge until the straw begins to roll once you’ve gotten the strays where you want them.
  • Then you can slowly walk the bed line while swinging your blower back and forth.
  • Once you have the air blowing properly, the straw will roll itself smoothly and easily.

Which Type of Pine Straw Is Best?

You may not be aware that there are numerous types of pine straw, the most popular of which are long needle, slash, and short needle. These varieties of straw come from several pine tree species, and there are significant variances in quality and appearance.

It doesn’t matter which sort of pine straw you use because both may be tucked for a polished effect.

Long Needle Pine Straw

  • Long needle pine straw, on the other hand, is by far the best of the lot.
  • It is derived from the southern longleaf pine. It has substantially longer needles (up to 18 inches), a much brighter hue (orange instead of brown), and more resin in the needles.
  • The end product is a pine straw mulch that lasts 5 times longer than other types, has a fluffier appearance that “tucks” better, and has a resin content that slows decomposition.

When Is It Appropriate Time To Spread

Installing pine straw in your landscape at any time of year is a good idea. As a result, I normally spread pine straw in the spring and again in the late fall, after the trees’ leaves have dropped. When you spread pine straw, it insulates roots, helps prevent weeds naturally, conserves moisture, and, last but not least, improves the appearance of your landscape!

Pro Tips

  • Pine straw can be used at any time of year to give a space a fresh, tidy appearance.
  • Clean and weed the area before spreading straw, apply a weed preventer, and complete pruning and trimming existing trees and shrubs.
  • Spread the straw out to about a 3-inch thickness. After a short period, the straw will settle.
  • Spread the straw about a foot beyond the edge of the bed.
  • You can rake or use a leaf blower to roll the straw’s edges. This adds a professional touch to the final product.

>> Related Post: How Much Pine Straw Do I Need (Detailed Information)


Final Remarks

In the South, pine straw has long been a popular mulch. It’s low-cost, effective, and appealing, especially in the presence of the ever-present loblolly and longleaf pines. Pine needles, like most mulches, add vital organic matter to the soil, allowing a wide range of native and decorative landscaping plants, such as trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, to thrive.

Planting trees is a method to give back because it helps restore wildlife habitat, food sources, and therapeutic characteristics that only trees can provide. Trees protect soil from severe weather and us from excess carbon dioxide as they develop, allowing us to live longer and more comfortably. As a consumer, you can choose to utilize Pine Straw in your landscape, and I hope this article has given you the necessary information on how to lay the pine straw.

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