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Updated on May 12, 2010


Cat sitting on a bale of pine straw
Cat sitting on a bale of pine straw
Bale of pine straw tied together with string
Bale of pine straw tied together with string
Up close and personal, but my how that stuff will prick your fingers.  Get the gloves.
Up close and personal, but my how that stuff will prick your fingers. Get the gloves.
Here is the look of pine straw as a ground cover.
Here is the look of pine straw as a ground cover.
My own front yard, half completed.
My own front yard, half completed.


I own lakefront property; therefore, keeping weeds at bay is a challenge every summer.  It is especially challenging for us single women who are trying to learn the secrets of well cared for lawns, and weed control.  If you have been doing yard work for years, you are probably already familiar with pine straw, but for those of us who are still rookies, this is an exciting discovery.

First of all, my property, in metro Atlanta, but rural Georgia, does not have a lawn you can cut with a typical lawn mower.  There are tall trees preventing grass from growing, but allowing weeds of every kind to thickly cover the land.  One must use a weed whacker on the entire property, not only for trimming or edging.  This is hard work, and requires a great deal of time.  Since I would also like to have time to plant some colorful flowers, I was happy to learn of a way to slow down the growth of the weeds on my land.  Pine straw is such a method.

I purchased pine straw at Lowes, but there are many places to buy it.  It is less expensive than many mulches, and $24 will purchase about six bales.  Bales are large bunches of pine straw packed together, and tied with string.  To use the pine straw, you simply cut the string and spread it over your land.  As a rookie, who is definitely yard work challenged, I did learn a few lessons the hard way, and would like to share them with you.


To prevent weed growth, pine staw needs to be thick, at least three inches thick.  The thicker your pine straw, the less weeds will have to be weed whacked, so lay it on thick.


Pine straw needles are sharp, so unless you enjoy a standard finger prick blood test at your local doctor's office, I'd advise you to pick up a pair of yard gloves.  I didn't know to do this, but I received on the job training on this one.  I won't be spreading pine straw without thick yard gloves again, as my finger tips still smart from last weekend.

Using pine straw is actually a simple process that greatly improves the appearance of your property, and offers other benefits as well.  Please click on the link below to learn of other benefits to using pine straw as a ground cover.  It is definitely a green technique for improving the look of your yard, that limits the amount of time you spend using the weed whacker.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Rake old mulch away. Put 2 layers of NEWSPAPER down over the weeds and old grass. Spray water on the newspaper. Pile the mulch on the newspaper. Your weeds will be killed. Pine straw needs to be applied 2x a year to look decent. Use wood mulch from a landscaping company if you want it to last longer.

    • profile image

      stephanie crawford 

      6 years ago

      Hello, I've just purchased a house and I've never gardened a day in my life. I'm in Nashville TN and the previous owner had a lot of landscaping ... hedge rows, rose garden, and many trees on the acre sized lot. She had been using pine straw for mulch. Now it's spring and the pine straw is dingy and there are all kinds of weeds growing up.

      Can you tell me where to start? How to I kill the weeds? Do I need to remove the old pine needles before starting over? I'm clueless and would really appreciate your assistance.

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Thanks Vicky, it has certainly helped the appearance of my front yard, and now that I am working again, I hope to also use it in the back.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hey great article! I actually work for a marketing company and one of our clients produces pine straw. You can place it around plants and trees but around the stems and trunks you have to leave an inch or two of space and you don't want to put more than 3 inches down or it could smother the plants then. It's actually excellent insulation against the elements and it deters many common pests and termites. :)

    • valeriebelew profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      You need to weed whack first, but removing the weeds is not necessary, as the purpose of the pine straw is to smother them out. Don't put it around the trunks of trees, or areas in which you want things to grow, because its purpose is to prevent growth. Thanks for responding to my site.

    • Bob Etier profile image

      Bob Etier 

      8 years ago from Western North Carolina

      Valerie, I've got my pine straw, but haven't spread it yet. This will show you what a newbie I am: do I need to remove all the weeds before I spread the pine straw? Thanx for the great info--I suspected I'd be needing gloves (which are a good idea anyway, though so easy to forget)


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