5-1-1 mix pine fines

ani_t(bellevue, wa)May 13, 2012

I hauled in a couple of bags of greens mix and gave up- i need way too much potting soil for this to be feasible buying from Lowes. I am looking at what pacigic topsoil in this area has to offer. Can any of these in th link below work in place of the pine files in the 5-1-1 mix ? Also I intend to use this in a SWC would it wick enough water ? how do i make it wick water ? http://www.pacifictopsoils.com/products_all.htm#SpecialtySoilMixes

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I have found it impossible to fine Pine Bark Fines.
So I can't imagine why there is so much 5:1:1 euphoria for container planting soil when the main component is unobtainable.
Pine Bark Mulch AINT Pine Bark Fines.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:39AM
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DaMonkey007(10b - Miami)

That depends, honestly. A local nursury that I frequent sell a totally usable product from Jolly Gardener, and its labeled as Pine Bark Mulch. What you need to watch out for is a mostly sapwood mulch being passed off as bark mulch.

The website listed has only one promising description: "Fine Bark: Fir/Hemlock bark. 1" minus particle size." Unfortunatly, when you click on the photo for a close up - it looks like shredded garbage. I wouldn't use it.

Don't get too hung up on what things are labeled as. A useable product might be called many things, including: mulch, bark, bark mulch, bark fines, soil conditioner, on and on. You just gotta go check it out for yourself. Look for a bark product You'll find the right stuff.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Agreed, pine bark fines appear to be non-existent in my area, or I'm just too picky...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 12:36PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

The problem always is the same ...the fines arent fine enough..... so here is what I am doing ...craigslist always seems to have chipper/shredders for sale ...there is not a large resell market for them ...most times you can deal for half or a third of the price the seller wanted

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 1:23PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Just got back picked up a aelf propelled vac/chipper/shredder for $60 very nice

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:27PM
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mantorvillain(z4bMN Dodge)

Well, my big earthquake chipper/shredder wrecked itself )broke the shaft)! I'm gettin older and pulling that recoil start was H*** on my shoulders. I ordered one of the (much) cheaper electric chippers from Harbor Freight and have been very happy with how it reduces medium and small bark nuggets to good 'fines' size. I thought I'd have to alter the feed system but the one it comes with is actually better as I use a hand scoop to slowly feed in the big stuff which allows me time to pick out larger sapwood and small stones which inevitably are included in the bags.
This takes a bit longer but makes a nicely sized product and is immeasurably quieter than my bigger gas chipper was.
Just my solution to 'sizing' the bark.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:42AM
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I am a newbie as well. It was hard to find pine fines in the begining but now I know a few sources.

Call your local landscaping company, garden center and Nurseries and ask them if they have pine fines. One near me has it under the name "Soil conditions"

Finally I got from one landscaping company a cubic yard for $28. It had many bigger barks and had to pass it thru 1/4" mesh. 2 bags of their pine fine made 1 bag of pine fine within 1/4".

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:23PM
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I have looked at those Harbor Freight chippers. may have to go that route

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 2:39PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

If you cant find the "fines" do a search for orchid pine nuggets or mini pine nuggets. I know they have the mini's at home depot/lowes. If they are not small enough you can screen them. A huge bag is less than $4. Its not EXACTLY the same but it pretty much IS.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:33PM
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I looked up the chippers you mentioned; do you mind telling me which one did you choose?
And have you tried it yet? Does it work as you expected?

I am having hard time as anybody else to find bark small enough...even tried old blender to reduce larger pieces - DOES NOT WORK -


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 7:40AM
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the soil conditioner that sells at big box stores like HD and lowes, they're typically 1/2 pine fine and 1/2 compost, not sure if that's close enough or a decent alternative....?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 3:49PM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

Home Depot sells Golden Trophy #302 pine bark mulch which sometimes are pine bark fines. It varies from pallet to pallet -- if one bag on the pallet is fine usually the entire pallet is of the same consistency. Keep checking different Home Depots and check all the pallets. I find a good batch at the stores by me at least once or twice a Spring. Once you see they have the good stuff. Buy up as much as you can carry. I have occasionally seen this brand of pine bark at Menards too.

For folks on the north side of Chicago, Farmer's Market on 45something north Elston has the real good pine bark fines this year and they had 4 complete pallets about a month ago. I forgot the brand name but it is the best quality of any brand I've tried. Farmer's Market went a couple of years without carrying pine bark so I stopped going there. This year I needed to make a stop there and was very surprised to see it stocked again and in quantity. Unfortunately I didn't need any pine bark.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 9:01PM
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What is the difference between fines (acceptable for the 5-1-1 mix) and mulch (unacceptable)? I am going to a couple of stores today and want to check out what they have. Pictures that show the difference would be great to see. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:26AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

If you get a 'good' bag of pine bark mulch, it will be ground pine bark, which is the 'fines.' Most bags of pine bark mulch that I have seen are ok to use right out of the bag, unless they have alot of pieces bigger than 1/2" or alot of sapwood. The only product I would steer away from if possible, is the Timberline Pine bark Mulch at Walmart. The quality control is poor.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:52PM
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