Groundcover is an essential part of the landscaping process. It cleans up the look of your garden, and it provides valuable protection for your plants. At some point, the “pine straw or mulch as groundcover” question will crop up. Below, we discuss the pros and cons of each, and go over how to choose the best option for you and your lawn.
Using Pine Straw in Your Landscaping
Pine straw is an organic mulch that consists of the needles that fall from pine trees. When used as a groundcover in landscaping, it creates a warm and attractive look.
Pros of Pine Straw
Pine straw is less expensive by the bag than mulch, so the initial pine straw delivery and installation cost is cheaper. It’s a great insulator and helps keep the ground cool in summer and warm in winter. It also prevents erosion, blocks a small amount of weed growth, and conserves moisture in your garden.
Pine straw is also easy to spread and rearrange. Its low-effort nature makes it the ideal material for first-time gardeners or those without much gardening knowledge.
Cons of Pine Straw
Like many things in life, too much of a good thing is actually bad. Pine straw is so easy to rearrange that even a small breeze can do it… frequently. Pine straw is light enough to need daily clean-up and it will often blow into neighboring yards.
Pine straw needs to be refreshed and replaced more often than mulch, which drives up your long-term costs. Adding too much pine straw can drastically lower your soil’s pH level. Because acidic soil can damage other plants, you’ll need to balance the pH level often to maintain a lush garden.
Using Mulch in Your Landscaping
There are many different types of mulch that you can use in your garden. The best mulch options are organic and made from previously-living materials, such as chopped leaves, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, or compost.
Pros of Mulch
Mulch holds less air than pine straw, so it provides a better moisture barrier for your plants. It vastly reduces weed growth by blocking air and light, and it prevents soil erosion. Mulch stays in place much longer than pine straw and it requires less refreshing, decreasing your long-term costs.
One of the best things about using organic mulch in your landscaping is that it adds valuable slow-release nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Cons of Mulch
Mulch is much harder to spread than pine straw, and a little does not go a long way. The initial investment for mulch installation can be very high because each bag costs more than a bag of pine straw, and you’ll need more bags to cover the same area.
Which is Better for Your Garden?
Ultimately, the best option for you is the one that makes the most sense for your yard, budget, and lifestyle. Once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of each and decided which you like the look of most, you can make an informed decision.
Many homeowners use a combination of the two materials to drive down costs and look after their plants. If you aren’t sure which option to choose to fit your garden and budget, it’s worth getting professional advice and a quote for a groundcover landscaping job.
Here at the Palm Brothers, we provide a variety of landscaping and hardscaping services to help you achieve the garden of your dreams. Contact us today to start transforming your yard one layer of mulch or pine straw at a time.