How to Spread Pine Straw


Pine straw, the naturally shed needles of pine trees, is an effective landscaping mulch. For homeowners with pine trees, it's free--simply rake up and save the needles. If you don't have pine trees, purchase baled pine straw from garden centers or other mulch sources. Mulching with pine straw, like other mulches, helps retain soil moisture, reduce weeds and erosion. Pine straw mulch is lightweight, easy to spread and is aesthetically pleasing.

Step 1

Rake up pine straw from beneath pine trees whenever it is in abundance and save it for mulching. Or, purchase baled pine straw. Texas A&M University Extension describes pine straw as less expensive than other mulches.

Step 2

Wear gloves if you find the pine straw irritating, and grab large handfuls of raked straw or pull apart and remove handfuls of pine straw from bales.

Step 3

Shake and scatter the pine straw wherever you normally use mulch: in garden beds, around trees and shrubs or other garden features. Pine straw is useful on slopes, where other chunkier mulches may wash away.

Step 4

Lay down 3 inches of pine straw wherever it is needed. This amount settles to around 1 ½ inches, or ½ lb. per square foot.

Step 5

Refresh and renew the pine straw each year by applying an additional 1 inch of mulch.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves (optional)
  • Pine straw
  • Rake (if gathering your own pine straw)


  • Texas A&M University Extension: Pine Straw as a Ground Cover Mulch

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University: Mulching Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: pine straw mulch, pine needle mulch, inexpensive mulch

About this Author

Marie Roberts is a freelance writer based in north central Florida. She has a B.S. in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida. Roberts began writing in 2002 and is published in the "Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society."