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Pine Bark Fines

Posted by lubadub 5B PA (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 11, 10 at 12:46

Help. I have looked everywhere here and no pine bark fines. I am in Altoona, PA. One nursery had them several years ago but they are out and have no plans to buy more. To get them from some of the companies not local I need to buy several pallets of the stuff to get any at all. I am getting disgusted. I thought about trying to make my own but doubt I can. Is there a substitute product? One more garden center asking me what I am talking about may be more than I can take at this point. And yes, I did look at all the posts here about where to get them. California is a bit far for me to go. And no, Lowe's and Home Depot and Walmart dont't have them either.

Marv


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I'm having trouble finding the partially composted fines as well (Scranton, PA).

The closest I've found so far is a product at Lowes called 'Gardenscape Pine Bark Mulch'. It has to be screened though, and has a fair amount of sapwood in it. I'm getting about half fines and half larger bark after screening. It's a lot of work though for the amount I'm going to need so I'm still looking.

The local Agway dealer had a product similar to the Gardenscape product. I might pick up a bag to see if it's any better.

The local Fafard dealers claim they can't get the 'Aged Pine Bark' since it's not a retail item.

A local mulch company (Mr Mulch) has what looked to be an ideal product ($16 yard), but I found it's mostly made from ground pine roots.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

You guys need to stay away from the inner parts of the tree, and try to get pure pine bark to then work with. Wish I could ship you the Groundcover Bark we have available at Home Depot in San Jose, but the cost would be expensive.

Raybo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Man, I've had trouble finding Pine Bark Fines as well. All I keep seeing at HD and Lowes is mulch...mulch and more mulch. Is this the same as as the fines? When I looked at the bag there were lots of bigger pieces and I don't want to waste my money if half will be too big for the mix.

I'm in Dallas, TX so if anyone from my neck of the woods knows where to find it please let me know. I've been waiting to make Al's gritty mix for many months now. :/

Thank you!

Ashley


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I get them at my local Lowe's. They are labeled "Soil Conditioner' but the fine (no pun intended) print says pine bark fines. I think the brand is Timberline.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I went to other places here locally and still no pine bark fines. I am not going to go down easily. "Pine Bark Fines or BUST !


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

In northern California, this is the product that I purchase. Kinda pricey at $8 for 2 cu. feet...
but it beats the Orchid bark (in size and price) sold in the nursery shop. For a gritty mix,
I screen out the large and fine bits of bark; for the 5-1-1 mix, I screen out the largest bark
but retain the fine bark for moisture.

Photobucket

Photobucket


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Raybo,

What's the UPC of the stuff that you're getting at Home Depot?
My home depot said they would order whatever if it were available in their system, but they are too stupid to find it so I said I'd try to figure it out.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

knight,

Here is a photo of the barcode label.

Raybo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I went to Home Depot today and they don't have and are not going to get pine bark fines as either "Groundbark Cover" or "Decorative Bark Cover." They told me they are a smaller Home Depot and that only the really big ones might have that product. This may be why some HD have them and some don't?


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I went to my local Lowes today and saw that they have a product " SOIL CONDITIONER " made by GARDEN PRO ... its ingredients are gypsum and pine bark fines ;-) $4.77 for 2.0 cubic feet ... Do you think this will work ? if so I'm gonna go back next weekend for several bags when I start my container gardening ;-)


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I'm pretty sure there is someone here who uses the garden pro mix and is pleased with it.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

rane,

Wow. I hate to give advice on a product that I have never experimented with myself, but with that caution in mind, it is better than nothing (Potting Mix and Perlite only). Not sure the ratio of gypsum, but hopefully, the predominant ingredients are the bark fines. Let us know how it works out for you, and if you can post a close-up photo of a bit of it, that would help.

Raybo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

My HomeDepot lists this under "pine mulch"

It is a Timberline product. Under the specs, it clearly states that it isn't Energy Star Compliant - bummer, guess it won't qualify for a rebate! (That was a joke, people).

It is SKU# 363944

The description calls it "Fine pine tree bark"

To those in the know, will this suffice?

Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Timberline Pine Mulch


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 15, 10 at 18:42

It sounds/looks like the right material for the 5:1:1 mix. If it's fine enough it should work very well.

Al


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Sorry, Al. I was unclear. I'm planning on the 1:1:1 mix using the Timberline Pine Mulch. Am I still OK?

Andrew


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 16, 10 at 13:39

You should screen/winnow the fines (<1/8") out of it.

Al


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I took a look at the 'Timberline Pine Mulch' at Home Depot today. It didn't look good to me. There was lots of sapwood and shredded material, and not much bark at all. They said they have pretty much all the mulch products in stock that they'll carry, so no EarthGro products there.

I've found a garden center that says they have pine bark in right size for gritty mix, but not partially composted for the 5:1:1.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Lubadub,

Have you thought about going to management and asking Walmart or Hd or Lowes to special order some for you.

They always do for their customers here..

I wish you success..

Mike:-)


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Still cannot find any pine bark fines here in Central Pennsylvania. This is getting aggravating. I may have to give up. Getting warm outside.

Marv


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

If you're ever passing through central Ohio, you can get "mini pine fines" at Ohio Mulch. It's $3.79 for a 2cf bag. I started using this last year, and it's wonderful!


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

My Home Depot now has something called "premium pine bark mulch" I am going to investigate as soon as my driveway thaws...


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

  • Posted by bencjedi 6 - Central Kentucky (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 23, 10 at 2:09

If worst comes to worst and all you have access to is large pine bark nuggets you can buy\rent a chipper\shredder to reduce the size of the nuggets. I got a deal on a chipper\shredder a few weeks ago off Craigslist and am enjoying its use. I shredded 12cuft of pine bark nuggets on the driveway this Sunday and just want to advise to wear a mask if you do this. I inhaled so much pine dust up my nose, it was black on a tissue I twisted up in my nostrils (ew!). I am sorting the size chips now with 1/4" hardware cloth (purchased at Lowes for about $13) and will screen the smaller bits with insect screening next.

Here's the Earthtainer mix process advised by Ray that I worked on the other day. It's a 3:2:1 mix of potting soil, pine bark fines and perlite. The pine bark chips range in size from a dime to a quarter.

From 032110

From 032110


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Since this is about pine bark fines, I wanted to share and experience and see what the community knows that can help me.

I bought pine bark fines at a local nursery, I don't recall the brand. I made 5-1-1 and gritty mix. I instantly killed the first African violet I placed in the gritty. I decided it was because I hadn't sifted everything, so I sifted.

The next plant died.

Since then, I've tested at least 15 AVs varying in size from just removed from the propagating leaf to ones with at least 19 leaves, and I've not had much success. The plant starts out fine. It grows initially. Within about 3-4 weeks, it's stopped growing. By 4-5 weeks, the outer leaves are soft and floppy. By 5-6 weeks, the inner leaves are soft and floppy.

If I take them out before they die I see the same thing each time: dead roots. They are soft, brown and easily pull off. When I repot these plants into a 70/30 perlite/peat mix, they start to respond in about 3 weeks and by about 8-12 weeks they are back to normal. I can see root growth in about 3-5 weeks - nice, white roots.

I use a wick for drainage and to verify the soil mix is dry before I water, so I am not over watering. I'm not under watering because I check them daily and these are small plants with small root systems, so they rarely need water more than every other day. I've sifted the ingredients, used exactly what was recommended here, the bark is the size as shown in the pictures, I have added what I'm supposed to such as gypsum, etc.

At one point I thought I'd figured it out. I thought the pH was too low as at 5.5 (testing the water after letting the water sit in the mix for about 10 minutes). I added lime to move the pH about 6.3 and tried again. Unfortunately, I just took those plants out of the mix about 1-2 weeks ago. Same problem. (And to those to whom I've promised young plants, please know that these are now a month behind because they didn't grow at all for the last month and will now take a month to start growing again.)

I still wonder if it's a pH issue. The bark tests 3.8 pH or thereabouts. That seems awfully low to me. I'm clutching at straws, but if the bark was resting against the roots, could it be so acidic that it harms them?

I created a mix tonight of screened oil-dri, perlite, granite and Growrocks. I thought I'd try a barkless mix just to see if the bark is somehow implicated. I won't know for at least 4 weeks after I plant something in it, however, if it's made any difference.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

In NC, a chain called Southern States has 2 cu ft bags of "Soil Conditioner" and in small print - Pine Bark Fines
for something like 4.79 bag. I bought a couple & looks to be the right size.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

lathyrus odoratus:

I'm far from an expert on this, so I hope someone else comments, but I don't think Oil-Dri is suitable for plants. It is a baked clay product very similar if not identical to Kitty Litter, but is not baked at a high temperature like Turface. Oil-Dri and Kitty Litter are highly absorbent but break down into a gooey mass when they become saturated. Turface retains the shape of the individual particles.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

mainegrower,
Some people use it, but it is very unpredictable. Most of the time it breaks down as you say. Al suggests you freeze it over night, then see how stable it is by rubbing it between your fingers. If it is crumbly or a grey film comes off on your finger its no good.

I tried this, and the oil-dry just wasn't going to work.

Alot do use the Nappa Auto Parts brand floor dry. part # 8822.


JoJo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Mainegrower (and all), I don't always say/write the exact name - my brain just doesn't work that way, lol. I am using the recommended NAPA floor dry that in my head is oildry. Every ingredient I've used is one recommended here, including the fertilizer. The only thing that isn't the same brand is the pine bark fines and I didn't think it mattered, but I'm now thinking it might.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

lathyrus,

your pine bark fines could possibly be treated with a chemical or something.

Also you should wash your mix really well before using it. The granite grit im using seems to be pretty salty.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

The bag doesn't say that they are treated with anything. That would be rotten if they could treat things and not disclose it.

I'm curious, since I don't recall any of the other threads mentioning washing the gritty mix. Does everyone wash their gritty mix? I screen it but I haven't washed it.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I rather be cautious and don't see a problem with washing it since turface, granite grit, and even pine bark fines isn't exactly made for mixing your own soil.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Nguyenty, I'm not at all saying that it might not help; just wondering if it is commonly done. I'm still struggling with how this mix could be killing the roots with plant after plant (albeit all the same species - so maybe it's a problem with this type of plant, not the mix).

To that point, I do have some other plants in a 5-1-1 with the same bark; they are all streptocarpus. So far, all are alive. They do not seem to be growing as quickly as I'd expect, but they are not dying as the African Violets do. So, whatever the problem is is not causing the same issues for a different species of plant.

I have a spider plant shoot that I've rooted (several, actually). Maybe I'll plant it in the mix and see what happens.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

In my first attempt at the gritty mix I also used the Napa product and just about killed the cristmas cactus cuttings I put in it. When I was convinced they weren't going to recover I repotted them and discovered how wet it was in the root zone. It wasn't standing water that could be wicked away, the oil dry was just totally saturated like a handful of wet beach sand. I had screened it and it had not broken down so don't misunderstand the beach sand thing. I just can't think of another common comparible saturation example. I'm sure it's a ratio thing and perhaps a 3-3-1(bark-gravel- oil dry) would be better. That would be heavier, but for my top heavy fucshia standards that would great as a heavier pot is required.
That's why even though I have recently bought some turace I'll continue to use both to further increase my options.
Having said all that, JaG and Al never really could warm up to the oil dry thing.

Larry


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Larry, I thought that might be the issue, too - that stuff is quite wet. The first plant that died, I also thought it was too wet, so I changed the proportions.

Since the first plant died, I've used varying combinations of the ingredients - from the 5-1-1 to the gritty as is and the gritty as a 5-4-3. It doesn't matter. The 5-1-1 has to be watered daily, but they still die.

The other day I made a 1-1-1-1 that has no bark. I'm just going to see what happens. If they grow and live, then the bark looks more like the culprit. If they die, it's probably not the bark.

In the gritty mix, I use a wick so I know if it's wet and the longest they stay wet is two days. I mean a peat based product keeps things wet for a week and they die in the 5-1-1 which dries out in a day, so I'm having a hard time thinking that would be the answer.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

lath,

After 31 different conbination trials of Turface, Cactus Mix, Redwood Compost, Potting Mix, Bark Fines, Perlite, etc, for a SWC application (and this may be totally different than your needs) but for what it is worth, I have determined that a 3:2:1 ratio of Potting Mix, Bark Fines and Perlite work best for me.

Photobucket

This is a Cherokee Purple tomato plant that is green from top to bottom. Again, your specific plant and watering technique may be different from this, but I simply post this as a point of reference.

Raybo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I found pine bark fines labeled "Fine Pine" decorative ground cover. No where on the package does it say "pine bark fines" or even the word "bark" but the nursery owner said it was the same thing, so I got it, and my mix turned out BEAUTIFULLY! I don't think I'm near anyone who's looking, BUT, if you see "Fine Pine" it is pine bark fines!


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Raybo, thanks for that. This isn't the same application, but I do use self watering containers, so it's nice to know your mix and that you're very happy with it. You certainly did a lot of work to come up with what works. I'm sure others have already said it many times, but I know I appreciate people who share their experiments. Thanks!


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

OK, update on the killing gritty mix, lol.

Last night I was checking all my interior plants and realized I have a lovely hippeastrum in the exact same mix that is killing my African Violets. It's happy and growing well. I planted it at least 5 months ago and the roots are wonderful, so it's not at all affecting it, in fact it probably is responsible for how happy the plant is.

A month or so ago, I wanted to see if plants started in the gritty mix would respond differently than ones started in a peat/perlite mix. I have at least 4 or 5 leaves starting in the gritty mix (not the 5-1-1). I gently shook off some of the mix and beneath it are lovely, strong, white roots.

That adds to my suspicion that there is something in this mix that just isn't working for African Violets. I am not sure if it is that ones started in another mix never acclimate to the new mix before they decline too far to be saved, or if there is something about this mix that is problematic in general to the African Violets. And I don't know if it's just MY mix or the gritty mix in general.

If anyone else has AVs growing successfully in a gritty mix or any mix with bark, I'd love to hear what you're using.

In the meantime, I'm ordering some fir bark for orchids and some coco chips to see if I can replace the pine with these and make a difference. If they do not make a difference, I'll replace the Napa stuff and see what happens. I'm already testing a mix without any pine (but it may be too damp) to see what that does.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

shlacm,

I think you found the key operative word - "decorative groundcover bark". That seems to be the common phrase used by different manufacturers.

Raybo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Hey Raybo, in your picture of the cherokee purple, I noticed the 18 gallon tote with the lid on it and a hole cut out. I am growing tomatoes this season using the same container. What are your thoughts/reasons for leaving the lid on?


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Nevermind Raybo. WOW! Just bookmarked your earthtainer build. All I can say is GENIUS! Looks like I'm going to be busy for a while. I'm planning on making 15 of these bad boys :~)


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RE: EarthTainer Guide

Urban,

Thanks. Just the work-product of a lot of trial and error.

Email me during your construction project with any assembly questions.

Raybo

Here is a link that might be useful: Rev 2.,0 EarthTainer Guide


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

lathyrus, what is the Ph of your water? What are you using for fertilizer? I would really try turface instead of floor dry next since the floor dry has a rather high Ph and perhaps that is what the AV's aren't liking? Perhaps Al might have some input on that, but thats what I would do.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

The fert is the highly recommended Dyna-grow Foliage Pro. I honestly have followed the advice here as best I can. Screened ingredients, right size ingredients, recommended fert, etc.

The water pH varies from 7.2 to 7.8 depending on the time of year. While it's hard to test the pH of the mix, I have watered the mix, let it soak for 10-15 minutes, and check the pH of the water (as recommended here as a way to at least get in the ballpark of what it is). I cannot remember the pH of the mix without lime, but it was low for AVs. Because it was too low (when I first started this effort), I decided to add lime instead of gypsum. With lime added, it tested 6.2 the last time I tested it. That should be fine for AVs. The peat/perlite mix I'm using tested 6.35.

Also, the hippeastrum is very happy in the same stuff, as are a few streptocarpus. If what I've read is correct, hippeastrum prefer a slightly acidic pH around 5.5-6.0. So, too high a pH is unlikely even if my test results somehow are.

I would love it if Al had some input, but he must not be reading this thread.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Raybo-that is a beautiful Cherokee Purple plant but is it producing any tomatoes? It is one thing to grow a big plant but it is another to grow a plant that produces alot of tomatoes. If you got alot of volume from that plant, that is fantastic!!


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

marcos,

As this Cherokee Purple was planted for my Fall crop of the year, I was quite happy with its production - up until December 21 when the hard freeze killed it. This Spring / Summer first crop cycle, I have about 20 plants / varieties now growing in the 3:2:1 Combo Mix.

The other 14 tomato plants are growing in slight variants of the 3:2:1 Combo Mix, (3:3:2, and 2:2:1 ratios for example) to try to get a spread-spectrum of results to evaluate. I am also evaluating some of the ratios with a finer bark particle size called "Turf Topper", as an alternative to the Decorative Bark Groundcover product.

Raybo


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Will this bark work? Here's the description: >Dark Harbor Blend is an exceptionally rich, fine-textured blend of naturally composted barks, ideal for mulching beds, borders and gardens and for use around shrubs and trees.<

They're 1 cu foot for 6.99.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coast of Maine mulch


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I think I have finally found a source for Aged Pine Bark! I called Fafard directly and they gave me the contact info for their PA distributor. I just got off the phone and they're going to order me a pallet of 36 2cf bags of Fafard Aged Pine Bark. They deliver in my area for $20 and price per bag is $3-something (I got so excited I forgot). It may take a couple of weeks for them to get it since they don't normally stock it:

Griffin Greenhouse
200 Mountain View Road
Morgantown, PA
610-286-0046

Looks like they have locations along the East Coast:
http://www.griffins.com/locations/index.asp

Also, I picked up some more Lowes Gardenscape Pine Mulch, but it's not at all composted this time (and still has lots of sapwood and big chunks). I wouldn't recommend it.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

  • Posted by bjbond 5b GTA/Ontario (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 10, 10 at 15:58

I'm at a loss of where to get Pine Bark Fines in the Canada market. I'm based in the GTA (largest retail market in Canada) and can't find this stuff in the retail space.

I may have to mow some mini-nugget pine bark that I found at Rona in Mississauga. My local Rona does not carry them. May be time to drive back out to Sauga.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I'm going to be using aged Dark Harbor mulch from Coast of Maine for my Earthtainer 3:2:1 mix. If anybody thinks this is a bad idea, let me know. I've been to a few states in new england; about 6 big nurseries, a number of lowe's and home depots, K-mart, and not one has bark fines, soil conditioner, or decorative bark. This stuff looks and feels great. I bought it up in York, Maine at Coastal Landscaping I can take a picture of it if anyone wants. Here's a link again with a video describing it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dark Harbor Mulch


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

That product is incredibly fine....might as well be potting soil or peat at this point.
You'll need to modify the mix, if you were counting on the bark to open the soil for drainage and structure.

Josh


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

well its not the consistency of potting soil thats for sure. There just aren't any "bark fines" to be found anywhere.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I might just have to resort to getting repti bark from a pet store but that is definitely pricey


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Would these mini bark nuggets work from HD? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mini Pine Bark Nuggets


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

No, it's too big. Almost any bag that says nuggets will be too big. Timberline makes a pine bark mulch in a purple bag that is closer to what you want. I'm not a big fan of the Timberline mulch though. The quality of the bags I've seen is poor......large pieces and too much sapwood.


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

I just want to verify that this stuff is good for the "5" in the 5-1-1 mix.

...walked right by it at HD. DOH!


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RE: Pine Bark Fines

Yes it is. Looks like you're in business :-)


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