What Is Pine Bark?

Overview

Pine bark is the tough material covering the stems of the pine tree that protects the tree from weather and animals. This bark has been used as an alternative remedy and is also used to make pine bark beds, which are fertile growing mediums for plants, such as blueberry bushes. Pine bark is vulnerable to pine bark beetles.

Identification

Pine bark tends to be thick and covers the pine tree trunk in a scale-like fashion. Some species of pine tree have thick bark that tends to peel off of the tree. Pine bark is usually grayish-brown in color.

Features

Pine trees frequently serve as ornamental trees. There are more than 100 species of pine tree and they make up one third of the conifer genus. These plants usually have needles instead of leaves and produce pine cones after their flowers are fertilized.

Pine Bark Substrate

Milled pine bark is used as a substrate to grow southern blueberries. The pores in pine bark allow the bark to hold both moisture and nutrients and also allow air to pass through the pine bark. The lignin in pine bark reduces the pine bark decay, allowing the bark to remain in the soil for longer, according to the University of Georgia. Pine bark also has a more acidic pH, which is preferable for blueberry bushes.

Health Benefits

According to Stanford University, pine bark extract has been found to be easily absorbed by the human body and easily metabolized and eliminated. While pine bark extract has been found to be safe, side effects can occur such as gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, dizziness, headaches, constipation and increased perspiration. Pine bark extract might have health benefits because it contains flavanoids, which are valuable antioxidants. Researchers think that pine bark might be able to lower blood pressure, notes Stanford University.

Pine Bark Beetles

Several species of pine bark beetle attack pine trees, often simultaneously. Thousands of ponderosa pines have been destroyed by the pine bark beetle. Pine trees that are infested with pine bark beetles often develop foliage that begins to fade. The needles turn from green to a light brown straw color. The pine bark beetles bore into the pine bark and lay their eggs. The pine bark beetle larvae hatch and feed on the pine bark. Pine bark beetles often attack trees when they have been cut. Controlling the beetles involves removing infested branches and burning them.

Keywords: pine bark extract, pine bark beetle, pine bark substrate, pine tree, pine bark beds

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.