Is this good for pine bark fines?

ykerzner(9 TX)May 20, 2011

I found this pine bark mulch at a local nursery (Cornelius). It says that it's aged and composted. Would the accelerated decomposition be a problem with longevity in the 5-1-1 mix?

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greentiger87

You *want* aged and composted for the 5:1:1. I would use that product as it is, though you could conceivably improve it by filtering out the largest pieces.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:29PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Should work great as it is in the 5:1:1 and you could screen it for the gritty mix.

Al

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 9:22PM
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ltruett(Zone, 9 Houston)

Nice. How much was the bag?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 11:21PM
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greentiger87

Holy crap, I just realized you were in Houston! Great find, I'll have to pick some up and try it.

As an alternative, I've been using the Hapi-Gro landscapers mix from Lowe's, and it's working really well. 3 dollars and change, forget the exact price. The ingredients are listed as (100% landscapers mix)... it almost feels like a practical joke. I called the company and they confirmed it's just pine bark, though it's totally possible there are other additives. It has a lot of fine material, so I don't even use any peat - just the mix, and perlite.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 12:08AM
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ltruett(Zone, 9 Houston)

Greentiger,

I have some of the Hapi-Gro mix (top pic) too and I didn't think it was that good. It seemed too fine/decomposed. My brother got the same exact product (bottom pic) in the dallas area and was different. What did yours look like?


    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 7:55AM
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greentiger87

It is pretty fine, which is why I don't use any peat.. but the fact that its partially decomposed is a good thing (correct me if I'm wrong, Al). Fine material and even "dust" provide water retention, and the partial decomposition reduces the nitrogen robbery typical of wood products.

I also tried a perfectly screened pine bark mulch.. but I found it to be impractical in Houston. It drains and dries out much too quickly for our sun and temperatures - I can't water more than once a day, other than for new transplants. Even the gritty mix seems to hold moisture better.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 7:57PM
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ykerzner(9 TX)

Thanks greentiger87 and tapla. Ltruett - the bag was $9.99, a bit steep, but since it's almost all the right size, I don't have to worry about tons of extra mulch that's left over after sifting the regular stuff ($3.99 for 3 cubic feet) through 1/4" screen. It also has virtually no sapwood.

Greentiger87 - what Lowe's did you find that landscape mix at? The only problem I would see with that is too much retention of extra water, especially by the stuff smaller than 1/16". That could be a problem if there's a period of low evaporation and high moisture in the spring, for example.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Aysling(5)

Would the following mulch work in the 5-1-1 mix?

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardwood Mulch

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 4:16AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I would avoid hardwood mulch. This is from Al's Container Soil thread:

Bark fines of pine, fir or hemlock, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as nature's preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains - it retains its structure.

My understanding is that hardwood mulch is neither bark nor pine, and will breakdown more easily, robbing nitrogen from your plants.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Aysling(5)

Hm...so it wouldn't be the best solution long term, but I could probably make due until next year. That'd allow me to buy pine this season when it comes in stock. I'll keep looking, but in January it seems like pine fines are all but impossible to find!

I've checked Ace Hardware, Greenview Nursery, Lowe's, and Farm & Home Supply in person, as well as Amazon, Home Depot, Wal-mart, Meijer, and a few others online, without much luck. If anyone else has other suggestions, I'm open to them =)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 5:59AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Posted by greentiger87 none (My Page) on
Sat, May 21, 11 at 19:57
I also tried a perfectly screened pine bark mulch.. but I found it to be impractical in Houston. It drains and dries out much too quickly for our sun and temperatures - I can't water more than once a day, other than for new transplants. Even the gritty mix seems to hold moisture better.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
That is the intended nature of 511 mix ie good drainage. Otherwise any conventional potting mix (like MG) will retain a lot more moisture better.
Then again, each climate and application can be different. So then 511 probably is not a right choice in Houston, TX. But where I am, eg, it is promising since we get a lot of rain and our summer highs rarely go higher than 85F.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:35AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Ays, looks like you'll need to order your bark fines from online unfortunately. It will be more expensive and impractical but at least you'll get exactly what you want.

Second thought -- does your Lowes carry the fine orchid mix? It's a small bag with blue accents/borders. The bark is perfect but you won't be able to buy in quantity.

Another idea is the Repto-Bark or whatever from Petsmart. You'll need to filter out the big chunks though.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 1:25PM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

Aysling, here in the frozen upper Midwest you probably won't find many big box retailers selling pine bark in January. None of my local big box stores (Lowe's, Menards, Meijers, Home Depot, etc.) have any pine bark or other mulch available for sale this time of year. I'm sure in the warmer southern or western states you probably can find pine bark and other mulches all year long. But not in my area in January.

If you need pine bark now, in mid-winter, then you might call around to a few local retailers who specialize in nursery stock and landscape supplies. You might get lucky and find a few frozen bags of pine bark laying around. It's a long shot, but making a few phone calls won't take all that long to find out.

Usually the big box stores around here don't start getting mulch deliveries until late March or early April.

TYG

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Aysling(5)

I ended up buying a pre-made mix online that I'm *hoping* has the correct proportions and ingredients. It says pine bark fines, peat, and sand. I also bought some perlite. Should I screen it to eliminate as much sand as possible? It was a LOT more expensive than I was hoping, so I'll certainly pick up my own pine this next season.

I'll let you all know how it turns out - if it's decent, then it might make a good emergency substitute for others who don't have access to pine year round.

Here is a link that might be useful: Potting Mix

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 8:55PM
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Aysling(5)

Thought I should point out that I'm not sure how accurate that picture in the listing is, as it's the same one used for a different potting mix by the same seller. I'm hoping it might be a bit more coarse.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 10:25PM
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