I can't find pine bark fines

bkay2000(8a TX)April 14, 2013

I've looked for pine bark fines, but had no luck. The guy at he nursery told me to get Lowe's Landscaper's mix. I did and mixed the 3-1-1 ratio. It doesn't drain well enough. I've had some plant setbacks and losses to rot this spring.

I dumped the soil in the pots and added some small pine bark mulch to help with drainage, until I can figure out what to do. This stuff is full of huge chunks.

Is there another name for pine bark fines? Where do you find it? I had not luck at the box stores or the independent nurseries.


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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

It's mostly under the name of Pine Bark Mulch, or Soil Conditioner. Stay away from anything that says Nuggets on it. Where are you located? Keep looking. I almost got discouraged when I began looking, but eventually found a couple sources. Some mulch suppliers also have pine bark mulch.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Is there an Agway outlet near you? They are in most states on the east coast. Their Pine Bark mulch bags come in 2 cu' for $7 and works well for 511. You can look up any stores near you through their website.

The link is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: agway store locator

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:50AM
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opal52(z7b GA)

At Lowes in metro Atlanta GA, pine bark fines are sold in bags labeled as Soil Conditioner. Of course, Lowes in your area may not offer the same product.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 8:45AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

That's probably what landscapers mix is. I used 311 instead of 511. I don't think 511 would have helped with drainage. The bottom of the pots I dumped were still soggy a day and a half after rain.

I looked at the soil conditioner at HD and it had compost and soil in it, so I passed on that.

If I use the landscapers mix, how do I get it to drain?


landscapers mix

Small pine bark mulch

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 3:58PM
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I'm also looking for pine bark fines. I'm on the border between Wisconsin and Illinois. I'm right now looking at Lowes and Home Depot.

Home Depot has something called "Pine Bark Mulch". http://www.homedepot.com/p/2-cu-ft-Pine-Bark-Mulch-363944/100350635?N=bx82#specifications

it looks a little fluffy, not like solid chunks. Is this what is desirable for a container soil mix?

Alternatively, there is this mulch from Lowe's:

It doesn't have a picture, so I'm unsure about what it looks like, if it is safe to use for growing food, etc.

Does anyone have any advice concerning this?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 4:29PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

They both look promising and can probably be used right out of the bag for the 511 mix. No mulch picture for the Lowes stuff, but it shows the name "Evergreen." You could probably research that. Looks like you have 2 decent options. Definitely safe for growing food.

This post was edited by edweather on Thu, Apr 18, 13 at 19:58

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:57PM
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Hi Everyone,

I have been searching in Montreal for the pine bark fines and have not been successful. Need some help from anyone. I know Al is away. I have been searching for pine bark fines in the Montreal area. Nothing. Here's what I have found so far:

1. Medium Pine bark - but the bag is not see thru so I cannot determine except by feel the size. They feel bigger than 1/2".
2. Cacoa shell mulch
3. Hemlock mulch
4. Pine bark nuggets (again not visible and I'm thinking this is what I need)
5. Cedar mulch
6. ProMix BX with Mycrorrizae - 75% peat, perlite, vermiculite and dolomitic and calcite limestone with mycorrizae.
7. Fafard has a container mix - Coconut fiber, peat moss,and biosol compost.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback or help here. As I said, the pine nuggets and medium bark were not visible unless I ripped open a bag, which I wasnt' willing to do.By feel the nuggets might be a good bet. The hemlock seemed better, again not sure. I will continue to search.

Thanks, Sharon

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Hi Sharonie

After looking for pine bark fines here in Mtl, the best I could come up with was bonsai mix. It's kind of expensive,but the good news is, the mix is very similar to Al's gritty mix!!! :) Most of my seraches were done in French,which probably helped. You are looking for:
ecorce de pin FIN pour substrat. The first e in ecorce should have an accent aigu,but this keyboard sucks. :S

If you really want just pine barks fines, the Societe bonsai at the Jardin Botanique has some composted ones! They're only open 1 day a week, so you should probably email them before going there. Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Societe bonsai de Montreal - boutique

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Hi feuilles_urbaines,
Your right about the search. I did find at pepiniere jasmin on Henri Bourassa hemlock mulch which I'm told is also very good to use and from what I saw from an opened bag, it looks right. I did think about the bonsai mix. But thanks for the info, I might do that. Have you tried the 5-1-1 mix yet? I need quite a lot. I'm considering using Promix HP with the mulch and adding perlite and lime with a slow release fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:11PM
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What about Fafards Pine Bark Nuggets? Too big I think.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Just a suggestion, but while searching for PBF's, I found this supplier out of Quebec:


No idea if they are any good, but might be worth a try.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:59AM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

I'll second the Home Depot rec. Their #302 pine bark mulch might be appropriate but it can vary greatly from batch to batch. Both Home Depots I checked on the north side of Chicago (on Elston) had good #302 Golden Trophy mulch. The Menards which is close by had no good #302 Golden Trophy. In fact, that mulch had huge chunks, and so different from the Home Depot batch I wondered how Golden Trophy could call them the same product. Today I was at one of those the Home Depots and the good pine bark is almost gone. It is the end of planting season in our zone 5 however. Hopefully more people are buying this for potting mix which means Home Depot will keep getting the good stuff for the foreseeable future.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Here in SoCal I found "GreenAll" micro bark (2 cu ft). It is perfect! Very happy.....

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 8:49PM
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Hi all,

I want to try this mix too and have been shopping online. I'd like your advice/input on bark fines. I'm confused. Here's what I've found:


Sun Gro Black Gold Orchid Bark Fine. 4Qts=$19.00. Going to manufacturers website I found particle size is 1/8-3/8" in size. Not very uniform.

Orchiata New Zealand Pinus Radiata bark. 1/8". 10.5 gallon bag for $60.


I have order from and used mixes from Repotme.com. They sell bark in the right size and I think it's really good judging from my experience with the orchid mixes I have bought from them. This is also really expensive.

Am I being a perfectionist here or will any "mulch" do? These all seem extremely expensive to me. Is this expense worth it or should I just go to Home Depot and get some mulch? Sorry if this is redundant but I've spent a lot of time reading this forum and I guess I still am unsure. Maybe I'm just confused by all the boasts on these companies websites. Thanks for your patience.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Tell us where you're located please.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:47AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Couple of weeks ago I found some barks at Lowes. The had two grades, SMALL and BIG. I bought some of the small ones. I think it is CEDAR bark. Same difference(LOL). Right now is not a landscaping season and most garden centerers and nurseries are just selling bulb and winter hardy plants. I think you should check around in the spring time.

Fafard is the same but probably more expensive because they have found a niche marketing. Orchid stuff is even more expensive for the same pine bark.

here is a sample of what I got from Lowes. The coin is a quarter

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:24AM
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I'm in Vermont. I have access to Home Depot and a couple of very very small hardware stores. So I usually end up ordering things online. Otherwise it's a huge drive to get to where the real shopping is.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 7:02AM
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BTW, I got onto this forum because I transplanted some of my really pot bound houseplants in a new coir mix I got and I've never seen any plants looking so unhappy a week after transplanting. I've always just used the usual mixes that are widely available. I read Al's posts on here and I think I understand the roots are just being suffocated. It makes sense, when this stuff is moist and gently squished in my hand it stays in a tight ball. I want to put them into something better ASAP.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 7:09AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

EW, you need to be a perfectionist, at least when you start out making these mixes for the first time. Any mulch certainly won't do.

I am kind of in your boat in that I don't have local sources for bark fines. I live in Las Vegas where the tallest tree is 8ft and everything has to be trucked in. I have to order my bark fines online from Calif orchid vendors. There is no getting away from paying a premium to get the right stuff.

BUT you have a few trees in Vermont, right? I have to think there are nurseries or suppliers you can visit that sell bags of small-size bark. Even if they are an hour away, load up the truck and kids and make a day trip one Saturday to where bags are sold, then buy them out so you're all stocked up for a year or two. Maybe you can invest in a chipper and make your own if you're feeling adventurous.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:37PM
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This time of year (November) is tough to find pine bark fines, or pine products of any kind for that matter. All the local big box stores have converted their garden centers into big Christmas tree holding areas, at least here in the upper Midwest, with no mulch products at all. The only places you might be able to find pine bark this time of year in this area might be the independent nurseries.

I know that seysonn reported finding Greensmix pine bark at the local Lowe's in WA recently but my local Lowe's has nothing like that. Even at big box stores landscaping supplies can vary widely depending on your region.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Looking for pine bark fines in Mesa, AZ, or possibly a suitable equivalent.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:31PM
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One tip in finding a suitable PBF is do not get hung up on the term "Fines"

I asked everywhere and all said no, a few looked at me as if I sprouted an eyestalk out of the top of my head! even when I described what I was using it for!

I actually found suitable material at all most every one of those places (except the big box stores) that said they didn't have it or know any place to get it!

Get to know what you are looking for, and look for it yourself instead of asking the store or garden center!

Look for "Pine Bark Mulch" (NOT nuggets or mini muggets)
flip the bag over and read the small print on the back or side of the bag. If it says "can be used as a soil conditioner" or particle size "1/2 inch to dust" or "100% pine bark" it is probably at least 65% useable product.

My current source, AGWAY Pine Bark Mulch, is approaches 90% usable material, and nowhere on the bag will you find the term "fines"

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 1:25PM
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I agree with Spaceman on this. If you call local retailers looking for pine bark don't ask them for "pine bark fines ". Most retailers won't know what you are asking for. Instead I suggest you ask for "pine or fir bark mostly 1/2" and smaller" or something similar. That way the salesperson will have a better idea about what you want.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:50AM
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You might see if this product is available in your area. Several people from this forum use this product in the western US.


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot Earthgro Bark

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:20AM
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