Pine Straw Facts

What is pine straw mulch? Pine straw is a pine needle that has fallen from a pine tree. Pine needles are used in flower beds as a ground cover for landscaping. Pine straw helps insulate the soil from temperature fluctuations and will not move with heavy rains. Pine straw is excellent on hills and slopes because the pine needles interlock after spreading and keep the pine straw from moving. Pine Straw Mulch is also referred to as Pine Needle Mulch and does not exhibit all of the problems of hardwood mulch.


What type of shrubs, plants, or flowers grow well with pine straw? A wide variety of plants thrive with pine straw mulch, including azaleas, camellias, hostas, ferns, hydrangea, magnolias, coleus, rhododendrons, snapdragons, cineraria, bleeding heart, geranium, lily of the valley, rose of sharon, rhodies, hellebores, astilbe, strawberries, blueberries, and choke cherry. Because this is not an exhaustive list, please consult your local professional for answers to questions about specific plants not named here.


How deep should a pine straw application be? Pine straw should be spread 2 – 3 inches deep on the ground surface. You will receive the pine straw from The Pine Straw Store® packed in boxes or on pallets, the pine straw should be taken from the boxes in handfuls and shaken over desired area so that it is distributed in a loose, fluffy manner. While this is a bit time consuming, it will achieve two very important objectives, providing a very attractive ground cover and yielding the correct square footage from each box. Applying the straw in a clumpy fashion will result in a much less attractive look and will cover a smaller area.


Does pine straw help protect against the cold weather? Yes. Placing pine straw around the base of trees or other plants is very effective in protecting their root systems from the cold. If you are trying to protect a small tree, make a pine straw bed about three inches deep and two feet in diameter around its base. If you live in a very cold climate. the depth of the straw bed should be about six inches.


Does pine straw help control weeds? Yes. At a depth of about three inches, pine straw ground cover can be an effective method of weed control. The deeper the pine straw is applied, the better the weed control. One way that pine straw helps to control weeds is by blocking the light so that it does not get to the infant weeds and without light, weeds have a hard time surviving.


How often should pine straw be applied? If the straw is being used to protect plants and add to the soil, it should be applied annually. If it is being used for decorative purposes, it should be applied once a year to keep mulch looking at its absolute best. The mulch can last several years.


Are all Types of Pine Straw the Same? The short answer is “No”. Pine Straw debris levels vary greatly from company to company. Any Pine Straw supplier that sells to very large “Big Box” stores is going to have a very poor quality product. They set their harvest procedures to focus on volume and not quality. We at focus on product quality and a positive customer experience. There are 3 major types of Pine Straw and one B-Grade product:

1. Premium Pine Straw – ( 14 Inch Pine Needle Mulch – a.k.a. – Longleaf Pine Straw, Long Needle Pine Straw, Pinus Palustris ) – The thickest needle with the heaviest wax coating resulting in extreme durability. Very few companies actually carry Longleaf Pine Straw due to the fact that it’s scarce. We carry this product in box and pallet form.

2. Standard Pine Straw® – ( 9 Inch Pine Needle Mulch – a.k.a. – Slash Pine Straw, Slash Pine, Pinus Elliottii ) – The most popular type sold on the market and has a combination of durability, cleanliness, and affordability. We carry this type Pine Straw under the name brand Standard Pine Straw®. If you are having trouble deciding what type of Pine Straw to purchase, this type of Pine Straw Mulch is a good place to start.

3. B-Grade Pine Straw – ( 9 Inch Pine Needle Mulch – a.k.a. – Slash Pine Straw, Slash Pine, Pinus Elliottii ) – This pine needle is the same as our Standard Pine Straw®. The main difference being, that our B Grade Pine Straw will contain a higher amount of debris, as it has not been through our triple clean process. This type of pine straw is also very popular as it is durable, much cleaner than short needle straw, and the most affordable pine straw we carry.

4. Loblolly Pine Straw – ( 6 Inch Pine Needle – a.k.a. – Short Needle Pine Straw, Pinus Taeda ) – The worst of the three major types of pine needles, we do not carry the Loblolly Pine Straw due to the poor quality of the product and the fact that it does not last very long. If you are looking at purchasing Pine Straw and the price is too good to be true, there is a reason. A lot of the copy cat web sites sell Loblolly pine straw because its the only type they can get due to their geographical location in the U.S. If a company or web site does not list the type of Pine Straw they are selling, there is a good chance that its because it is Loblolly. Companies will substitute cheap Loblolly Pine Straw and try to pass it off as Slash Pine Straw, or make a list of reason why its “almost” as good as the other types of Pine Straw. Companies that do this will often try to get the customer to focus on the weight of the product to say you are getting more pine straw and avoid talking about the lifespan and quality of Loblolly Pine Straw. A dirty product loaded with sand, sticks, excessive moisture, and other types of debris will weigh more than a fresh, clean batch of Pine Straw.


Can you tell me about pine straw and soil acid levels? Pine Straw Mulch has an acidic level of 6.0 to 6.5. The pine straw acid level is equivalent to rain water. This is perfect for most plants.


Can my pine straw be stored in the garage? Yes, if you order your pine straw and decide that you want to use it at a later date, just keep the boxes in a dry, cool place and the pine straw should be fine.


Will pine straw stay in place with high wind? Yes, pine straw will stay in place very well with high winds. The longer the pine needle, the better the pine needle will stay in place. If you have a place that has very high winds, you need to go with either the Longleaf pine needle or the Slash pine needle. Pine straw also works well on hills and will not wash away when the rain comes. Pine straw will work very well around the swimming pool. The long needles will stay in place with the winds and foot traffic.


What type of pine straw can be walked on? Any type of pine straw can be walked on. Dogs and other animals can walk on pine straw without any problems. We recommend the 9″ Standard Slash Pine Straw if you are putting the pine straw in a high traffic area with pets.


Will pine straw attract termites? Termites do not like pine straw. You can put pine straw in your yard without the fear of termites that comes with most hard woods.


Where do you deliver to? We deliver our pine straw to the lower 48 States. If FedEx or UPS can deliver to your address, then we can get our pine straw to your door®. If you have questions about your area, just e-mail us and we will help you out.


How is the pine straw delivered? We ship our pine straw via FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery. You will be e-mailed a FedEx tracking number. The Pine Straw will be delivered in strong double wall boxes. We ship out 3 different size boxes. The “large box” is (24″x24″x24″) and will cover 200 square feet of ground at 2 – 3 inches deep. Our “medium box” will cover 100 square feet of ground at 2 – 3 inches deep. We ship our Premium Pine Straw, Standard Pine Straw® and B-Grade Pine Straw on pallets via Freight Delivery. Each pallet will cover 3,000 square feet at a 2 – 3 inch depth.


Can you tell me about the square feet covered by each box? Each large box of pine straw will cover 200 square feet at 2 inches deep. If you place the straw at a dept of 1.5 inches, you will get over 250 square feet from each large box. If you place the pine straw on the ground at 3 or 4 inches deep, you will not get 200 square feet out of each large box. The thicker the straw, the less square footage each box will cover. You can not determine the square feet covered by weight alone, this is a common misconception that beginners make. The reason for this is that weight is mainly determined by moisture levels. Plus, it is common knowledge that any Pine Straw that contains an excessive amount of dirt, sticks, and moisture will weigh more than a clean, dry box of Pine Straw. The type of Pine Straw also helps determine the weight. We have taken the hastle out of the process, all of our products clearly state the square footage covered.


Can I place pine straw over the top of pine bark? Yes, if you place pine bark on the ground, you can then place pine straw on top of the pine bark. Some of our customers do this because they love the look of the pine straw over the top of the pine bark. You can also place the pine straw at a depth of 2 inches because the bark helps control weeds along with the pine straw. You will get well over 200 square feet per large box if you decide to use this method.


Does pine straw help prevent “shotgun” fungus? “Shotgun” fungus (Sphaerobolus stellatus) is becoming more common in the US. Pine Straw is great at helping to prevent the spread of shotgun fungus. Because hardwood mulch is the food source of the fungus, completely removing the hardwood mulch is the first step to getting rid of the fungus. When the infected hard wood mulch is removed completely, the black spots should stop appearing on the side of the house. The second step is to apply pine straw in a very thick manner to the desired area. We recommend that you use either our Standard Pine Straw® (9″ needle) or our Premium Pine Straw (14″ needle) and leave a 3 inch gap between the pine straw and any permanent structure. Remove old pine straw and apply pine straw mulch on a yearly basis.


Do you have a minimum amount that I must order? Most companies that you order pine straw from have a minimum order of 1000 bales of pine straw. This is no good for most people because the average home owner has no need for 1000 bales of pine straw. Our minimum amount is 1 box of pine straw. This works out great for the average home owner who wants the look and smell of pine straw but does not need to purchase 1000 bales.


What if I have trouble placing an order? If you have any trouble placing your order via our website, e-mail us and we will have one of our agents contact you within 4 hours about your order. You can call us at 1800PINESTRAW.


What forms of payment do you take? We take MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover.


What about tax? In the State of Georgia, a sales tax of 7% will be added during the checkout process.


Can you tell me about shipping? For example, if you purchase a large box of pine straw from us, it will ship at a dimensional weight of 100 pounds, this is due to the size of the box. In 2007, Fedex and UPS adopted the dimensional weight system for their ground services. Our website calculates all shipping rates for our customers, so add the products that you want to your shopping cart and the computers will do the rest.


Can Pine Straw be eaten? Yes, we actually get this question quite often. We have never heard of anyone getting sick from the ingestion of pine straw but we do not recommend that you ingest our products in any way, shape or form. Pets usually won’t eat pine straw, unless you have a dog that likes to go around eating large piles of leaves, you should not worry about your pet.


If I am a landscape designer, can I charge extra to my customer for your products? Yes, your product markup and installation fees are 100% up to you. Since we sell to the lower 48 States, the amount of markup that landscape designers apply varies greatly. We do not dictate what you may charge your clients for the product. Once you purchase from us, the product is yours to resell at any rate you feel is obtainable in your area. There is no “retail price” printed on the outside of the box.


Can you tell me about Pallet orders? All pallet orders are shipped via Freight Delivery. Delivery trucks can come equipped with a lift gate, so no fork lifts are needed for Residential delivery. When the plastic ship wrap is removed from the pallet of pine straw, there are 48 individual “Bales” that can be hand held and moved about with ease.


What is the weight of each pallet of pine straw? Each pallet weighs approximately 650 – 700 pounds. Do not confuse pallet orders with the boxes that are delivered via Fedex Home Delivery.


Can the pallets be stored outside? Yes, our pine straw pallets come wrapped in black plastic shipping wrap that allows for long term outside storage.


Where can the freight driver put the pallet? Delivery freight truck will have a lift gate in order to place the product at the foot of the driveway. After delivery, the pallets can have the plastic wrap removed and the 48 individual bales can be moved around. You could load the bales into a wheelbarrow and move them about with ease.


Can you tell me about the cubic yards? Cubic yard conversions are calculated with the product distributed on the ground. Pine Straw is compressed at a 6.25 to 1 ratio apon delivery.


Who do you deliver to? We ship our Pine Straw Mulch to private homes, golf courses, landscape firms, private estates, and garden centers all over the United States.