Pine Bark Mulch for the garden
Very popular with landscapers Pine Bark Mulch is available in coarse, medium and fine grades. Landscaper love it as a ground cover mulch and use the coarse type, it look attractive has good air flow and lets the moisture penetrate.
Available in bags from large garden centres, if you are after large quantities it is much cheaper to buy in bulk from garden supply outlets.
Sold mainly as an un-composted product Pine Bark Mulch does have its problems, much the same as other mulches.
In its un-composted form, Pine Bark Mulch will draw nitrogen from the soil as part of the decomposition process. Its not so much the the pine bark itself but the bacteria involved in decomposition. This nitrogen is only a temporary problem as eventually it is released back into the soil. Pine bark is really no worse than any wood based mulch in this respect.
So does this mean that Pine Bark Mulch is not good ?
Certainly not, it is effective as a weed suppressant, good for water retention and can also look good. It is not however great as a soil conditioner. Mulch should smell clean, a little like newly cut wood, if it has a sour smell then it can cause problems. If you have bulk fresh mulch delivered it can be a good idea to leave it for a few days before spreading. If it is bagged mulch it can still be a good idea to let it air for a few days
If you use a good slow release fertilizer before applying the mulch you should have few problems.
It can be more effective to sheet mulch with newspaper before mulching.
Top Tips for Pine Bark Mulch
- keep pine bark away from shrub and tree bases, no mulch near the base, more further away.
- do not apply to thickly.
- add a nitrogen based fertilizer or some blood and bone before applying pine bark.
- use the coarse type of pine bark (30 mm chips) as this allows good water penetration.
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