Tapla's 5-1-1 Container Mix

neuf(5 Indy)April 11, 2014

What is the best, inexpensive source for pine bark fines?

Thanks!

Jeff

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Today I saw that our local Walmart is carrying Gardenpro pine bark mulch for $3.33 for 2 cu ft. That's a good price. I stuck my finger in the bag to get a look at it (don't tell,) and it looked like pretty good stuff. Will definitely buy a bag to get a better look at it before buying the mother load. Also check out the big box stores and garden centers. Mulch suppliers sell in bulk too.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:16PM
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neuf(5 Indy)

IâÂÂm not sure that the two things...pine bark mulch and pine bark fines are the same thing. Seems mulch would make for some very course soil. But thatâÂÂs why IâÂÂm here. To find out and learn!!!

This post was edited by neuf on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 16:44

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:43PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Usually the same thing. Very hard to find something labeled "Fines." Most of the labels are Pine Bark Mulch, sometimes Fines, and sometimes Soil Conditioner. The main thing to look for is that it's not shredded, and that there's not alot of sapwood. I physically looked at and it was good for particle size and I didn't see any sapwood. A mulch supplier around here calls it ground pine bark. The names can vary, so it's important to know what you are looking for, and not necessarily the name.

This post was edited by edweather on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 16:53

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:48PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Pine bark is normally marketed and used as "MULCH" in various sizes from shredded to LARGE nuggets. I am talking about just the bark not shredded sap wood.

I buy two kinds from local Lowes: One is called SMALL NUGGETS. The other is called MULCH.

The first has very little fines and about 10% consist of 1/2" and bigger pieces. The later is more close to peat moss. So by mixing the two I get a perfect 511 type.

here is the picture of the nuggets:

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 11:55PM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Seysonn,

What are the name brands for those two bags?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:01AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

It's also important to check particle size with the majority of particles smaller than a dime, or about 3/8 inch. If you tell us where you are, someone may be able to suggest a source. Pine bark mulch/fines/soil conditioner is a local product so even the stuff in big box stores is different in different parts of the U.S. You're more likely it find suitable fir bark out west, for example. In Ohio I've found several different products ranging from about $3 to 5 per 2 cubic feet of bark. Lucky for me, there is a statewide distributor called Ohio Mulch that sells a brand called Golden Trophy Mini Pine Fines.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine fines

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:58AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

I did a run to Lowe's and Walmart. Nothing looked like seysonn's product. Looked like very course mulch (1/2" X 3/4") Also updated my profile...I live in Indianapolis. I'm heading to one of my garden shops next.

Thanks!

Jeff

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:37AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Check out Indiana Mulch & Stone. Looks like they may even be related to the Ohio Mulch distributor I found.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine bark mulch in Indianapolis

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:52AM
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neuf(5 Indy)

Thanks for the help Ohiofem. The picture on their website looks like it might be perfect! As an edit, I went there and was very happy with the pine mulch I got!

This post was edited by neuf on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 12:53

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 7:34AM
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somalenese(10a)

hi guy's
this is the first time I'm posting in this forum
I don't have access to readymade pine fines
so I was wondering if you guy's can help me prepare my own
I need pine fines for
1 5-1-1
2. gritty mix

I have made arrangement and I will be getting pine bark straight from the farm in raw form

how can I season it ? for use
thank you

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:16AM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

This is a perfect example of growing products (in this case pine bark) being available in certain regions and not others, especially at big box stores.

edweather says he found a great deal on pine bark at Walmart and seysonn found a similar deal at Lowes. However, last week I went to both of those stores in my area and found nothing usable at either store. In fact, my local Walmart had no kind of pine-based products of any kind. I found pallet after pallet of inexpensive cedar and cypress mulches in various sizes but no pine bark that could be used in containers.

The bottom line is that some of us are very lucky to be able to drive to our local big box stores and find perfect-sized pine bark, while others of us have to search out specialty garden centers or drive great distances to find pine bark in the right size.

TYG

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:21AM
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somalenese(10a)

at my place peat moss ,terrace and pine bark are absolutely not available
so I made arrangement's for it
I asked a guy 500 km away from my home to collect pine bark
and I'll go and collect it

but then what how to make it usable ? should I use it straight away after removing sap wood or I should season it ?
thank you

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:21PM
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somalenese(10a)

that's turface

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Somalenese: You don't need to do anything to the pine bark before using it if the particles are the right size (smaller than 1 cm. or 3/8 inch) and it really is pine or fir bark. But, for 5-1-1, it is nice to start with partially composted bark. If you have the time, you could pile it up outside where it will get rained on and turn the pile every few days. It will gradually break down. My understanding is that it will require a little more nitrogen fertilizer if it is not at least partially composted when you add it to the 5-1-1. For gritty mix, it is better for it to NOT be composted.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:28PM
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somalenese(10a)

thanks ohiofem
that was a great help

thank you

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:38PM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

On the way home I stopped at a small nursery and found some pine bark. The bags are 3CF and sell for about $7.00 per bag. They had an entire pallet of the pine bark. I took a photo of the bark and will attach it. (Sorry the photo is poor quality. The mulch, I believe, is left over from last fall, and the one bag that was torn open was very wet so it was stuck together.)

I'm curious what the group thinks about this bark for use in the 5-1-1 and grit mix. Would it be usable?

If I recall Al's posts correctly, I think I could use this bark "as-is" for the 5-1-1 soil mix, but I'd have to dry it out and then screen it with hardware cloth for the grit mix.

Any thoughts on this bark? Does the size look about right for the 5-1-1 or grit mix?

TYG

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:57PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Looks right for 5-1-1 to me. It is well on the way to being composted. I've used bark like that for my vegetable in 5-1-1. I'm not sure about the gritty mix. I would let it dry out and see what happens when you screen it through 1/8 inch hardware cloth. The stuff between 1/8 and 3/8 inch should work, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Rickster88(USDA14)

Hi all,

Just wanted to report on my observations on my first trial with the 5-1-1 on my potted outdoor orange jasmine. After 5 months since the date I root pruned and repotted into the 5-1-1 (uncomposted bark/vermiculite/peat moss) I have to say that it's been doing averagely alright. What I noticed is that it needs a lot of fertiliser - I'm doing miracle gro 24-8-16 as foliar once to twice a week and a 5-2-6 slow release fertiliser every month. Without which the orange jasmine doesn't look healthy and blooms less than it used to in the clay soil. Also I'm having to frequently water it more than the other orange jasmines which is not a bad thing. The leaves on this orange jasmine are way huger than the other orange jasmine in a clay loam soil. I also see loads of fibrous roots and it is a lot more whitish than brown in colour.
May I ask if it is normal for ants to habitat in the 5-1-1? I usually flush the soil and I alot of saw small ants crawling out of it.

Just as a reference, the particle size of my mix looks like this.

I just recently repotted my ficus lyrata into a bark, perlite, vermiculite and peat moss mix. This time round I sieved out the dust from the bark and vermiculite and the mix was more of 5-2-1-1 (hey I need to get rid of the vermiculite somehow).

Is there another substitute for the bark? The bag I bought looks imported and was expensive as it is. I live in south east Asia.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 1:39AM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

Hello all. I went back to that small nursery and bought a bag of that pine bark. I dried a small handful of the bark and will attach a new photo. So far this is the best I have seen in my immediate area. I believe it will work for either 5-1-1 or grit mix (if screened).

The second photo is some very composted pine bark from the same nursery. They had an old, open bag of pine bark mulch that was in an advanced stage of composting. The owner let me have the 3CF bag for $1.00. I think this could be used as a base for 5-1-1 since it has a lot of fine material, but it's far too composted for grit mix however.

The third photo is the bag of mulch (the very composted mulch). I think this would be a very good mulch to use for grit mix or 5-1-1 if you could find it as fresh bark, and not so composted.

Thanks

TYG

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:14PM
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winstella(10b los angeles)

I have a question... If a bag is simply labeled as mulch, or ground cover, how do you know that it's made of pine, or something else?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:17AM
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maple_grove_gw

Winst, if a bag is not labelled as a pine bark product, most likely it's not a pine bark product. Look at the yard guy's photo in the post right above yours, last photo..."Pine Bark Mulch"...that's how you know.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:28AM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

winstella,

Welcome to the forum. Basically, for this type of container gardening you want to use only pine or fir bark. In my area, even though we are surrounded by pine trees, pine bark much is often hard to find in the size needed for container growing.

As maple_grove stated above, the only way to know for sure what kind of mulch you are buying is to physically read the bag. Bags will usually say "pine","fir". "cypress", etc. right on the bag, as in my photo above. You are correct that pine bark can be called mulch, ground cover, soil conditioner, etc. The important thing is that you only consider pine or fir bark, and then look at the size of the bark itself.

Hope that helps.

TYG

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:29PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Just wanted to bump this thread to let people know that the GardenPro Pine bark Mulch that Walmart is selling this year is garbage. Loaded with sapwood and huge chunks. Luckily I only bought one bag to sample it. Just tossed it in the woods rather than spend another second of my time on it. Went back to my old faithful source. This stuff makes Timberline Pine Bark Mulch look good, and that's not sayin' much. rant.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:36PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

One of the difficulties with 5-1-1 mix is finding, standardizing its contents and texture.
Al defines it pine or fir bark, with pieces smaller than 1/2" ( some 1/2" is ok) BUT that definition is not satisfying, to me.
What percent less than 1/8", between 1/8" and Some talk about COMPOSTED PINE BARK. but to me composted pine bark is not pine bark anymore. But if you run pine nuggets thru a shredder, you will get something that is still pine bark fine but not composted.

I have found this stuff called PINE BARK MULCH. It is actually shredded or crushed pine nuggets (NO sapwood). Its largest pieces are about1/4". NO 3/8" or bigger. With this one I add very little or no peat moss. For better moisture retention I add some DE (Floor Dri/ Ultrasorb)

The point is that it is difficult to find the right pine bark fine. so as they say : YMMV

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:24PM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

Yes well said. Many people on this forum, including myself, often have problems finding suitable pine or fir bark. As many of us have written on here, finding bark can be a challenge. The big box stores SOMETIMES have great bark, but most of the time that is not true. This year I was lucky and a few weeks ago I found a pallet of pine bark "mulch" (fine pine bark, mostly 1/2" or less) at KMart garden center of all places. The big box stores in my area still have nothing suitable for container use.

This bark I'm using now has lots of fines in it, so use of peat in the 5-1-1 mix is strictly optional. The only bad part is that there are is a fair amount of sapwood in this bark, but that will vary from store to store and bag to bag. You just have to remove as much of that as you can.

The best bet is usually independent garden centers rather than big box stores.

TYG

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 5:31PM
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gosalsk

I originally got some pine bark mulch at lowes and screened it. Worked great. Got some more and it was almost all sapwood and almost no bark fines. Bummer! No telling what you'll get. They sell something called soil conditioner which is mostly fines. Buy that, good stuff. Buy one bag and check it to make sure it's what you want.

If you have a wood chipper, it can turn pine bark mulch into pine bark fines. If it's not fining them up enough, wet them first. Mine, at least, works really, really well.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:08PM
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blucolt(9a)

I passed a bag of Melaleuca Florimulch in Lowe's yesterday; seems like using that evil stuff is the "right thing to do." Has anyone used it in containers? I'd love to use it in the 5-1-1 mix. It looks to be the same size if not consistency as pine fines.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 1:26PM
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