Pine Bark Removal


Gardeners use pine bark mulch for a variety of functions in the home landscape. Mulch retains moisture, restricts weed growth, and neatens the appearance of the garden. Removing pine bark becomes necessary when mulch layers become too deep or when the gardener prefers to use another type of mulch. Proper pine bark removal will clear the garden of this organic mulch to expose the underlying soil layers.

Step 1

Examine the edge of the garden plot. Stretch out the tarp so the end lies flush with the garden edge. If a raised brick, rock or wood border marks the garden edge, tuck the tarp under the border material. For trench edging, ensure that the tarp edge extends a few inches into the garden for easier pine bark collection.

Step 2

Loosen compacted mulch using a hoe to break up compressed layers of mulch. Start at the back of the garden and work the hoe blade into the pine bark mulch layer until it touches topsoil. Pull towards your body to loosen the mulch. Create individual piles of mulch in the bare spaces in the garden. Avoid a 12-inch area around plants to prevent root damage.

Step 3

Use a hand rake around individual plants to avoid damaging surface roots. Scrape the soil using the hand rake to remove pine bark mulch. Work only deep enough to address the mulch layer. Pull mulch away from the plants and then use a hoe to collect mulch into the larger piles.

Step 4

Select the bow rake to sweep individual piles onto the tarp. Work from the back of the garden to the front. Pull all pine bark mulch onto the tarp, grabbing the ends and lifting to shift the mulch to the center of the tarp. Continue collect mulch until the majority is removed from the garden surface.

Step 5

Switch to the leaf rake for the finer work of removing small pieces of pine bark. Rake from back to front to collect the smallest fragments onto the tarp.

Step 6

Open and secure a yard waste bag. Shovel scoops of mulch into the bags for disposal at the recycling center. If you have a compost pile, drag the tarp to the site and shovel mulch onto the pile. Pine bark is organic and will break down over time.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Tarp
  • Hoe
  • Hand rake
  • Bow rake
  • Plastic leaf rake
  • Shovel
  • Garden waste bags


  • North Carolina State University: Mulching Trees and Shrubs
  • University of Vermont Extension: Proper Mulching
Keywords: pine bark removal, removing mulch, mulch removal

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.