Should I Use Mulch or Pine Straw? | Landscaping in Raleigh, North Carolina

As you begin planting and designing the perfect flower bed for your lawn this summer, you might find yourself wondering “should I use mulch or pine straw?”

The type of bedding material you use can have a big impact on the health and appearance of your lawn and flowers. That’s why it’s important to do some research and think about what’s important to you—and what’s best for your yard. Depending on what kind of flowers you want to plant, mulch may have certain advantages over pine straw and vice versa.

Let’s dive right in. We’re going to cover the pros and cons for using each type of bedding in your lawn, as well as some general tips for mulch installation in Raleigh.

What’s the deal with pine straw?

A close up shot of a pine tree with green pine needles.

When pine trees shed, their needles fall to the ground. Those needles are then collected by hand, cleaned, and baled: this is where pine straw comes from.

Pine straw can be used throughout the year for decorative purposes or for extending the health and life of your flower beds. When used for bedding, it has a number of unique benefits.

Pine Straw Benefits

  • It’s easy to spread and rearrange
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Less expensive

But, as with anything, using pine straw has a few cons (when compared to using traditional mulch.)

Some Disadvantages to Pine Straw

  • Needs to be “refreshed” and redistributed more often
  • May increase the acidity of your soil
  • More likely to blow away and spread in the wind

In short: pine straw is easier to spread, less expensive at first, and many consider it to be more aesthetically pleasing. In addition, it may be beneficial to use it with plants that favor acidic environments, like azalea bushes.

However, it will likely need to be reapplied more than once throughout the season, and it tends to be messier.

Let’s Talk About Mulch

Close-up shot of a bed of mulch.

Mulch is a type of bedding used for flower beds and lawns. It can be made of many different materials, including compost, pine bark, peat moss, and decayed sawdust.

Whether you’re planting lantana, begonias, or bright yellows, mulch has some significant benefits to your flowers and lawn.

Mulch Benefits

  • Better at creating a moisture barrier for plants and flowers
  • Extra nutritional benefits for your lawn
  • Less messy than pine straw

Now, depending on your lawn type and the kind of flowers you’re planting, mulch has a few cons as well.

Some Disadvantages to Mulch

  • More expensive at first
  • Harder to spread, and may take much longer than pine straw
  • It’s easy to underestimate just how much mulch you’ll need for your lawn or flower beds.

Here’s the breakdown: mulch may have more nutritional benefits to your lawn and flowers than pine straw. It’s better at protecting your plants from moisture, but is harder to spread and more expensive.

Some General Lawn Care Tips for Bedding

A young girl taking a photo of a flower bed.

Whether you choose pine straw or mulch, it’s important to have some kind of bedding on your lawn and in your flower beds. Proper bedding protects your plants from the elements and maintains an average soil temperature that may help your plants grow.

However, before applying bedding, it is critical to make sure your lawn or flower beds are properly weeded. Don’t cover up common North Carolina weeds like bermudagrass, nutgrass or perennial garden weeds with bedding as this won’t improve the health of your flower beds.

Depending on your preferences, you may also use a combination of both mulch and pine straw!

Professional Lawn Care in Raleigh

If you’re still unsure or on the fence about the best type of bedding to use for your lawn, please give us a call!

We would love to come out and help you assess your yard to determine your lawn care needs. When it comes to mulch installation in Raleigh, and knowing what products work best for your specific lawn type, we offer guidance and support.

Consider us your go-to resource for a happy lawn and gorgeous flower beds in North Carolina.