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Maritime pine bark, an excellent acidic mulch

Pine bark mulch

Pine bark is an excellent mulch, both useful and very elegant.

It comes from maritime pine trees, and in Europe most of the production comes from Southwest France.

It can be used in several different manners, and has multiple advantages over other mulches.

Advantages of maritime pine bark

Use of pine bark for mulch has many advantages for plants and flower beds, especially for heath plants that thrive in acidic soil.

Bark from maritime pine, advantagesBut pine bark also has other advantages as well, such as adding a very elegant touch of decoration to your garden, highlighting your flower beds.

Here is a list of all the advantages of maritime pine bark:

  • Bark mulch serves to decorate flower beds and plantation beds.
  • It serves to save on watering and retains soil moisture.
  • Pine bark mulch hinders growth of weeds and pulling them out is much easier.
  • It avoids erosion and evaporation.
  • This mulch is perfect for seaside gardens because it doesn’t fly off with the wind.
  • In winter, pine bark protects roots against cold and freezing.

Thanks to bark, plants are able to develop and grow in weed-free, light and broken up soil that retains good moisture levels.

  • Plants thus grow faster and blooms are more furnished.

Plants for acidic soil

Cypress pine bark mulchThe pH of pine bark mulch is around 4.5, which makes it a relatively acidic product. Shown here are three specimens of ribbon plant (also called spider plants) growing on cypress pine bark mulch.

→ More about vegetables for acidic soil

Disadvantage of pine bark mulch

Pine bark turns the soil acidic, at least until it’s fully broken down (then, the natural soil pH wins out). This means it isn’t adapted for plants that need alkaline soil (usually limestone plants).

Pine bark mulch and watering

The mulching effect of bark keeps the soil from forming a watertight clotted surface, and lets your plants take full advantage of water and nutrients every time they are provided.

  • This will especially benefit your geranium, flower bed and garden box annuals, rose trees, perennials and various shrubs.

Bark mulch compared to other plant mulch

Cases where bark mulch is better

Pine bark mulch is acidicCompared to other types of plant mulch, bark mulch fares pretty well:

  • It’s better than compost against weeds, since no new seeds are brought in.
  • It’s better at insulating the ground when winterizing plants, since bark is a natural insulator for trees.
  • Uniform color is better for landscaping.
  • When using conifer bark or eucalyptus bark, you can influence soil acidity to make it better for heath plants.

Cases where other plant mulches are better than bark

  • One of the most nutrient-dense mulches is ramial chipped wood. Leaf buds and young shoots are full of nutrients, more than bark.
  • Color, brown, is a bit more common compared to brick-red cocoa hull mulch and fleece-white flax.
  • Clay pebbles retain water better than bark mulch, although bark mulch is pretty good compared to mineral mulch.

Read also on mulch:

Smart tip about pine bark mulch

Using pine bark correctly will extend the time for which it can be used.

  • Spread a 2-inch (5 cm) layer on your plantations and renew this every year.
  • The decorative and protective impact is guaranteed!

Images: 123RF: Elena Tarasova, Mariia Boiko, CC BY 2.0: Christopher Sessums; Pixabay: Rupert Kittinger-Sereinig
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