Pine Straw vs. Leaves & Grass Clippings as landscape mulchings.

Pinestraw mulched landscaping

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Pine needles, leaves and grass clippings can each be used alone as a mulch or in combination. Of the three, pine needles are the best mulching material. They are attractive, not easily removed from beds by wind or rain, and don't "mat down" excessively. Leaves can be used alone as a mulch but tend to blow away in windy locations and are easily washed from beds during heavy rain showers. Leaves do best as a mulching material when they are shredded. Grass clippings are the least desirable mulching material. They are easily transported by the wind, decompose very rapidly, and pack down to form a mat that can exclude air and water from the root zone. They should be spread thinly over the ground, mixed with other mulching materials or, better yet, composted with other yard waste. Plant trimmings such as twigs and small branches should be shredded before they are used as a mulch. ©UF-IFAS

The Negatives of Hay & Straw mulch.

You don't want to use hay as a mulch because hay simply contains too many weed seeds. If you were to use hay as a muclh you might end up spreading more contaminating weed seeds than you think. Hay & Straw decompose rapidly, so you'll have to replenish it frequently to keep the weeds at bay. Hay also isn't very ornamental and is best used for a vegetable garden or over newly sown lawns. As with most mulches, hay and straw will improve the soil as it decays.

 

Benefits at a Glance