Can You Put Mulch Over Pine Straw

Can You Put Mulch Over Pine Straw?

“Can you put mulch over pine straw?”  is a question that comes up when you plan to lay mulch on a landscape with pine straw.

You can put mulch over pine straw as it eventually breaks down and decomposes. Also, you don’t need to remove pine straw before putting down new mulch. Pine straw is a good choice for landscapes and flowerbeds compared to other mulches. You’ll need to replenish it annually to keep it looking fresh.

In this article, you get to find out if you need to remove old pine straw before laying mulch. I also look at the advantages of applying pine straw in a garden. 

Additionally, you learn how to keep pine straws looking neat and fresh. 

Do I Need To Remove Pine Straw Before Putting Down Mulch?

You don’t need to remove pine straw before putting down mulch. When pine straw decomposes, it adds nutrients and organic matter into the soil. As a result, your plants benefit from the additional nutrients and flourish.

You install mulch around the shrubs at a depth of 3 inches and 2 inches around the flowers. Applying a thick layer of mulch proves to be harmful to the plants.

 Is It Ok To Put Mulch On Top Of Pine Straw?

It’s ok to put mulch on top of pine straw. Pine straw breaks down and decomposes. Therefore, it’ll not interfere with mulch in any way. So, you can put regular mulch on top of pine straw.

However, you don’t need too much pine straw in case of compacting. It would be best to

reduce it to a minimum level before putting mulch on top. You use a garden fork to mix the pine straw into the soil to help reduce compaction. 

Besides, pine straw provides acidification, making it ideal for acid-loving plants.

Is It Better To Use Mulch Or Pine Straw?

The factors below prove it’s better to use pine straw over mulch:

Natural And Sustainable 

Pine straws come from various pine tree species. These trees shed their needles which you then rake and use as pine straw mulch.

As a result, pine straw is a natural renewable mulch source that you can access without destroying trees as they shed the needles yearly.

Improves Soil 

Pine straws reduce evaporation, helping to retain soil moisture. Pine needles interlock and usually hold together despite harsh weather conditions preventing soil erosion by rain and wind.

Pine mulch prevents soil compaction by reducing the impact of rain on the soil surface. 

Additionally, it creates a chemically-balanced soil that contributes to acid-loving roses and azaleas thriving.

Low Maintenance

 Pine straw breaks down slowly, so it doesn’t need frequent topping up like most mulches.

Also, it doesn’t form a crust and remains loose; hence there isn’t any need to fluff it as it stays friable and loose.  

Controls Weed

 Unlike wood mulch that allows weed seeds to germinate, pine straw mulch doesn’t let the weed take root.


Pine straw mulch is cheaper to buy and install than other types of mulch. It’s easy to use and requires no advanced knowledge. Therefore, the installation cost is relatively low as you can do it yourself.

Provides Frost Protection 

A tepee of pine needles usually acts as a greenhouse during winter. It helps conserve heat and keeps soil from freezing, thus protecting the roots of plants from extreme cold.

Pine straw mulch shield plants with shallow root frameworks that may succumb to frost.

How Do You Make Pine Straw Look Good?

You make pine straw look good by rolling the edges. Follow the steps below to give a neat appearance of your pine straw: 

  • Clear and weed the area before spreading the pine straw.
  • Also, apply a weed preventer to help protect weed from growing.   
  • Prune and trim existing trees and shrubs. 
  • Spread the straw to the required depth of 3 inches. 
  • Spray water on the straw to tamp it down. It helps to hold it in place if it becomes windy before the straw settles naturally down on its own.
  • Additionally, spread the pine straw a foot beyond the edges of your bed. 
  • Finally, using a leaf blower or rake, roll the edges of the pine straw. Tucking it keeps the straw within the borders and gives your landscape bed a fluffed raised look.

How Do You Keep Pine Straw Looking Fresh?

You keep pine straw looking fresh by replenishing it annually. However, if you’re using the straw for decorative purposes, it would be best if you apply it two times a year to keep your landscape looking fresh.

There’s no need to replace the pine straw. Add a layer of new straw at least 3 inches thick to maintain the required depth. The minimum thickness is three inches; any more suffocates the plant.

Another tip you can apply to keep your straw looking fresh is spraying it with pine straw dye. 

Apply the dye only on the dry surfaces, starting on the inside going out. It takes a couple of minutes to dry. 

Viola! You’ll have fresh-looking pine straw in just a couple of minutes. 

How Do You Keep Pine Straw From Being Blown Away? 

You keep pine straw from being blown away by wind by spraying them with water. Before pine straw, which is relatively light and loose, settles and mats, they are easily blown all over by the wind.  

However, spraying the pine needles with water helps keep them in place. Otherwise, you’ll need to be raking them back to the garden bed constantly. 

Moreover, once the pine straw settles in a few months, only a strong wind can move them. 

Should I Remove Old Pine Straw Before Putting Mulch Down? 

You shouldn’t remove old pine straw before putting mulch down. As pine straw breaks down, it adds organic matter, which is beneficial to plants.

Hence, the old pine straw becomes compost, providing additional nutrients to your plants. 

However, before putting down new mulch, it is best to cultivate the old pine to loosen it up if it had matted together.  

When Should You Lay Pine Straw?

The best time to lay pine straw is early winter. The old pine straw usually looks its worst in early winter and is ready for a fresh layer. 

By the beginning of winter, you clean up the fallen leaves. So, when you apply pine straw, it remains fresh-looking for a longer time. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t lay pine straw before the leaves have fallen. 

It’s best to put down pine straw before spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips emerge and become too tall. 

Pine straw can easily trample and cover emerging bulbs. However, the bulbs can grow through the straw if applied first. 


Are Pine Needles Bad For Mulch?

Pine needles aren’t bad for mulch as they are light and make fine mulch for your flowerbeds. However, being so light makes it easy for them to be blown around by the wind. You’ll need to rake them back to the beds frequently.   

Wrapping Up

So, wrapping up, can you put mulch over pine straw? Yes, you can. Pine straw usually decomposes, adding organic matter into the soil. 

Pine straw is lighter than bark mulch allowing more excellent percolation of water.

It also creates a network of needles that hold down soil erosion and helps protect unstable areas.

Pine straw also breaks down slower than most mulch materials; its benefits last longer. 

Additionally, it offers a natural attractive ground cover. It’s also suitable for acid-loving plants like roses and hydrangeas.

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