Look out your window. How do your beds look right now? If your like most homeowners in Georgia in the first week of the new year, your landscape beds are looking either bare or covered in leaves and other debris.
If they’re bare this is most likely from the mulch getting removed during leaf removal over the last couple of months, this is natural. When blowing leaves from the turf and beds some of the pine straw or other mulch types gets removed, its hard to get up the leaves without removing some of the mulch. Leaves are pretty much done falling by this point and should be removed from your turf and beds if not done already.
Some people think that leaving the leaves in the beds is good for the beds, it’s not. Leaving leaves in beds will cause them to mat. When the leaves mat, they create a barrier that prevents rainwater and nutrients from getting through to the soil. Matted leaves also take longer to breakdown. If you really want to use the leaves, they need to be gather and mulched (chopped) then put back into the beds. As they breakdown, they will add nutrients to the soil. This is a good practice but requires a good bit of work and is not the most attractive looking mulch. Some people will still add a layer of decorative mulch over the chopped leaves.
Here at Beyond The Curb Landscaping, we think that January is the great time to do mulch renovations. Like I said, beds are usually looking pretty bare and unattractive after the fall leaves have been removed. Don’t wait till spring, beds can look good in the winter too. Mulching now will make your beds look clean and manicured and will be ready for when your daffodils and tulips start popping up.
Here are some points to consider for pine straw versus mulch.
Pros for Mulch
- Provides a better moisture barrier for plants
- It’s easier to cleanup leaves and trimmings out of mulch
- Has a more manicured look than pine straw
- Offers a better weed barrier, and it’s easier to pull weeds from mulch
Pros for Pine Straw
- It’s cheaper, easier to handle and transport.
- Pine straw stays in place better than mulch, good to use on slopes
- Some people prefer the aesthetic look of pine straw over mulch, especially in areas with dense Pine tree cover
- Pine Straw is better for the environment, as the manufacture of pine straw doesn’t require heavy grinding machinery to make it
- Pine Straw doesn’t create a big mess during installation, and won’t run off and stain like mulch can sometime during a heavy rain fall