Pine Bark: Should I buy now and store over winter?

the_yard_guy(6A)July 5, 2014

Hello All. The local garden center where I bought pine bark this year is starting to clear out their garden supplies. By mid-July the garden center will be closed, meaning no more pine bark until next year.

They still have some 2CF bags of pine bark and I'm wondering if I should get a couple of bags to keep on hand. The problem is that with all of the heavy rains here last week most bags of bark are going to be at least partially wet inside. I probably won't use much more of the bark this season, so what I buy now would be used for next year and stored in my garage all winter.

If the bark is partially wet now, will the bark begin to compost or mildew over fall/winter?

Just wondering if other forum members load up on bark at the end of the season or wait until spring to buy new bark.



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If the price is RIGHT and you have the garage space, I would buy it and not worry if some moisture is in some of the bags. Al

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 9:42AM
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It should be fine, because composting would require some nitrogen/greens, which aren't there. If left outside or in a cold garage over winter, any decomposition would be slowed even more. I agree to buy it, because you could end up like me, going back in spring to find that they don't have it anymore.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Rather sad, here we can buy it year round. But yes, buy if you might need some before next spring.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 11:26AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I've been stocking up in August the past couple years and the stuff still looks and smells great when I start mixing 5-1-1 in the spring.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:41PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll drive over to the garden center this coming week and see what they have remaining. I only have about two dozen trees growing in containers so a couple of bags of bark would last me all season.

Calistoga, Joe, and Ohiofem: Thanks for letting me know that pine bark stores well over the winter. For some reason I was thinking that moisture trapped inside the bags from summer/fall rains would begin the decomposition process, or at least create some mildew issues when using them in the spring. My garage is unheated, so bark would be frozen over the winter.

Thanks again everyone.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 8:31AM
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I agree... grab it while you can get it! :-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:57AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Indeed, get as much as you can! I stock up on bark throughout the year...whenever I come across a suitable brand or batch of bark. I even poke a few holes in the bags to catch rainwater during the Winter....and the bark still doesn't "age" much.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I stopped at the garden center today and picked up a couple of bags of pine bark. The cost was $2.75 each for a 2CF bag. The material in the bags looked slightly different, perhaps a little better, than the bags I bought earlier this year. From what I could see there might have been less sapwood in this batch.

They had about 1/2 a pallet of pine bark fines left, much of it very wet from the recent rains. I dug around and tried to get the driest bags I could find. If I had use for more bark, and a place to store it, I would have bought several more bags at that price. I simply don't have room in my garage to store more than a few bags, unless I want to park my vehicle out in the driveway lol.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Today I picked up two more bags of pine bark. This will be all for me for this year since, as I mentioned, I have very little storage space for bags of bark.

As of today that 1/2 pallet at the garden center was down to about 8 bags remaining, several of them ripped open or full of water. At $2.75 per bag it's quite a deal. I won't know how much fine material is in each bag until next year when I use them but I think the material looks great for 5-1-1 right out of the bag. For gritty mix it would need some serious screening.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 6:51PM
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