Pine bark mulch is a mulching material produced from the shredded bark of pine trees. Some of this mulching material is obtained from tree logs and ground to various sizes while the rest consists of small pieces gathered from the screening of old pine bark nuggets. It is reddish brown in color, ranging from bright to dark. The mulch has a unique color distinct to the pine tree, besides being non-fibrous and light in weight, a reason why it is not good for use in sloping areas because it is easily washed off.
This mulching material is good in harboring moisture around the base of the crop when spread in layers of 2-3 inches. Compared to pine needles and leaves, it lasts much longer, usually years. It is layered on top of dump newspapers, with the heaviest chunks on the surface so that moisture is retained while suppressing weeds at the same time. Consequently, reduced weeds translates to a higher nutrient value for crops.
Pine bulk mulch helps in preventing soil erosion to the surrounding areas if it is layered inches deep into the soil. It is significant in fields planted with sporadic plants for example border gardens that are close to fences. When mulching tree trunks planted along the garden-side, the mulch should be layered flat rather than cones to prevent it from depriving the trunk of moisture.
This mulch maintains its original color longer than other organic mulches. While most mulches will turn grey in a year, bark pine mulch remains reddish brown beyond two years. Natural elements such as sunlight that are responsible for fading can only cause flipping and raking to this mulch, thereby revealing a deeper color on the inner side and maintaining the aesthetics of the garden for long. Since it is naturally brown, the soil is never contaminated by dying chemicals that are used on other organic mulches.
The Different Types of Pine Bark Mulch
There are many types of pine bark mulching material depending on the processing. Finely shredded pine is tiny in size, hence it can be layered even in tightly spaced crops such as newly sprouting flowers that have tender shoots. Pine bark nuggets on the other hand are processed in large and tiny sizes. The advantage of large sized nuggets is that they take long to decompose and can provide service for more than one growing season. Premium pine bark mulch is double-processed from southern pine trees. It has a light attractive appearance, and is best for use with plants that do well in acidic conditions such as roses.
Another type called border bark is golden brown in color. It is processed from raw bark pine that is hammer-milled. The biggest particles of this type measure 15mm and is a durable type that can stand strong winds. It does well in areas that experience a lot of erosion and along embankments as well. Superfine pine bark is chocolate brown in appearance with the biggest size being 5mm. It is obtained through sieving of pine bark that has been hammer-milled and is essential as a topdressing mulch.
The drawback of pine bark mulch is that large nuggets leave spaces on the ground, hence moisture conservation is not efficient. Small nuggets on the other hand easily float, but it is a perfect mulching material in terms of durability and appearance.
This video from landdesigns.com shows you how to select bark mulches.