Pine Straw - Long Needle vs. Short Needle
When it comes to using pine straw as a mulch in your landscape, is there really a difference between types of pine straw? YES...there absolutely is a difference!
Basically, there are two types of pine straw available on the market:
- Long Needle Pine Straw
- Short Needle Pine Straw
So, what's the difference?
LONG NEEDLE - Long needle pinestraw comes from the Southern Yellow Pine tree. This pine produces the longest needles of any southern variety of pine. The needles are 12 to 18 inches in length. Not only are the needles longer they're prettier: shiny, and bright copper-orange in color. Additionally, long needle pine straw holds its color longer, decomposes at a much slower rate, and spreads further in the landscape than short needle pine straw. For example: If you intended on spreading 100 bales of short needle pinestraw to cover an area, it would take 70 to 80 bales of long needle pine straw to cover the same area. So, not only is long needle pine straw a better looking mulch in your landscape, it's less expensive. Even though long needle is 25 to 50 cents a bale more in price, it comes out less expensive, and you end up with a prettier, longer lasting mulch, and a better looking landscape!
SHORT NEEDLE - Short needle pine straw comes from either the Loblolly Pine or the Slash Pine. Even though the Southern Yellow Pine produces a much higher grade lumber, about 30 years ago timber companies began replacing the Southern Yellow Pine with these two faster growing pines. Rather than wait 30 years to harvest trees, the Loblolly and Slash pines could be harvested in 10 to 15 years. Eventually, all the Yellow Pines were harvested and long needle pine straw was no longer available on the market. However, over the past decade or so, timber companies began to replant with the Yellow Pine, and now long needle pine straw has come back on the market. The needles of the Loblolly and Black pines can range from about 6 to 10" in length. Needles are light brown in color and unfortunately decompose at about 4 to 5 times the rate of long needle pine straw, eventually turning gray in color.
Needless to say for those of you who shop at Wilson Bros. Nursery, and because of the obvious benefits and savings, now that long needle is back on the market, this is the only type of pine straw we will be offering to our customers. If you can't or don't shop at Wilson Bros Nursery, look for a local supplier in your area who provides long needle pine straw. Try it out...once you do, you'll never go back to short.