Pine Straw Mulch and Making Pine Straw Bales

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Here in the southeastern states, the pine trees are abundant – which means so is pine straw.

Pine straw comes from several different species of pine trees. The pine trees drop their needles naturally throughout the year. Once the straw drops to the ground, it can be baled, used for mulch and many other uses, without ever having to cut down a single tree.

The pine trees also produce pine cones.

Baling and selling pine straw is a large industry here in Georgia. (Bale modeled by Lionel the cat)

The Loblolly Pine tree is one of several native pine trees and is the most important commercial timber tree in the southeastern United States.  There are also Long Needle, Short Needle, Slash, Spruce and I am sure other varieties of Southern Yellow Pine trees growing everywhere in rural and not so rural areas of Georgia.

We planted about 15 acres of Loblolly pine trees 14 years ago. The trees are now bearing and shedding enough pine needles to use for mulch around the farm. We use the mulch in the raised beds and garden.

The pine straw doesn’t float and wash away. It breaks down more slowly so it doesn’t need to be reapplied as frequently as other mulches. The pine straw mulch also helps hold in moisture in our long, hot, and usually dry summers here in Georgia.

We pile the pine straw heavy around the tomato plants.

It makes great mulch for my flowers.

We use pine straw in the nest boxes.

Pine straw is great in the brooder. We found it better than wood shavings because the biddies (baby chicks) can’t eat the pine straw.

We use this pine straw baler my husband made to bale pine straw.

How to make a bale of pine straw.

We store the bales in the barn loft.

Where the bales of pine straw sometimes serve another very important purpose. A nest to hatch more barn banties.

What do you use for mulch? Do you have other uses for pine straw?