Pine Fines

manature(9B Sanford, FL)February 19, 2009

I have been reading about these miraculous things for months now and still don't know what they are. I remember reading that they aren't always sold under that name/description, so I don't know if I'm looking at the right stuff at Home Depot or not. Could someone post a picture of what pine fines actually look like? And am I correct that some of you (Michael?) actually pot things directly in just the pine fines? Or do you always mix up a batch of something like Al's Mix (listed on the Container Forum)? Can you use it in beds as a soil conditioner? Or is that cost prohibitive?

Any info would be appreciated and a photo would be SUPER!



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Pine Fines are Pine Bark that's been run through a very fine chipper. The pieces are less than 1/2" in width with many of them as small as 1/4". I use them in my potting soil mix to allow for drainage. They decompose quickly (less than a year) and acidify the soil. I've never seen them anywhere but Bushel Stop.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:32AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Thanks, Ricky. I don't believe we have Bushel Stop up this way, but I know Michael uses them, so there must be a source. I also think they aren't always called that, exactly. I seem to remember someone saying they were being sold somewhere as Pine Bark, but listed as "smaller" than the usual. I don't know...maybe I'm hallucinating. I'm on good drugs today for a really nasty emergency root canal yesterday, with accompanying infection, so...who knows. This could all be a dream. Ha!

So you use them as part of your soil mixture (I'm sure I read you make your own) and never by themselves? And you don't use them to improve soil in your beds, right?

As I redo my beds (and my containers), I'm looking to improve EVERYTHING!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:16AM
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Welcome back, Marcia!
I use pine fines as mulch in some beds and I also pot directly into them. I love them! I got mine from one of the mulch delivery places in Orlando... can't recall the name... Bolling Forest! That's it! They may call it 'composted pine bark'. I'm fairly certain it's the finest stuff that they scrape up at the bottom of a mound of pine nuggets, but whatever they call it is OK with me.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:18AM
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Marcia - my potting soil mix is 2 bags of top soil (1 cu foot each) and 1 bag of pine fines (2 cu feet.)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:33AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)


I posted a picture of it below...Pine Bark fines...I bought mine at a local nursery! It took me almost a year of searching before I finally found it. At that time, None of the big box stores in my area carried it. I stopped in that same nursery one day, and I asked(like I have done every time I stopped) there, and she finally said...yes we just got some in! She asked me if I was using it for growing blueberries? I said I needed it as an ingredient in a soil mix I was using for Container growing(aka...Al's Mix). I still have a huge bag, so I have quit looking at the big box stores, they get new things in all the time, especially this time of year. Might be worth checking again!

I definitely mix it in with several other ingredients
(turface, crushed granite grit, coarse silica sand,small amount of sphagnum peat and of course the fine bark)...

BTW, I do sift mine(I use an old screen food type strainer to get rid of the fine dust...use with caution on a windy day as it can blow dust in your face.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:35PM
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I have to drive 45 minutes to get mine in Sarasota at Troy's Tropics. Some people on this forum say they can buy it at WalMart but I've checked at every WalMart in 3 counties here and nuttin.

I finally found some by calling the people who make make it, (manufactured in central Florida) at They have a toll free # and will tell you the closest retailer to you.

I also got some from Forestry Resources but they had bigger chunks in and needed to be sifted which I am not interested in.

Mine are labelled "soil conditioner" and cost me $4.99 for a 2 cu ft. bag. They also make an organic one for more $$.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 2:52PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Thanks for all the info, everyone, and puglvr1, thanks for the photo. Now I know what to look for, even if it is labeled slightly differently. I'm gonna have to give this a try. Does yours look like this, too, Kate?

And thanks for the welcome back, but I've only been able to stay up a few minutes at a time today. I have to go back to the dentist tomorrow, as something is wrong. I think the infection is worse than he thought, as the pain is pretty bad still. And the bite has to be ground down on the temp crown. I can't even bite down on scrambled eggs, yet. Arrrrrgggggh. DENTAL WORK!!!! *shudder*


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Marcia, Halls Seed & Feed in Apopka carries pine bark fines or will order them for you. The younger Mr. Hall is an organic gardener, a wealth of information. Hall's is about a block off Park Avenue.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:06PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)


I use it in all my veggie containers, usually get a one yard load (27CF) each year, but in between the new seasons I buy it in 2CF bags for the odds and ends I need to take care of. If you dental work doesn't keep you from going to Willy's BBQ Saturday I'd be glad to bring you a few bags, I just bought three 2CF bags today ($2.60/bag)...easy for me to pick them up since this nursery supplier is only five minutes from my work.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:49PM
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What I buy is called Soil Conditioner by Fafard - $5.99 per bag at a small local nursery. It's pricey but necessary in my limey sand. That's the only place I've found it.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:43PM
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on a tip from christine, i checked out a product called (something like) tree and shrub planting mix at lowes--in 2 cu ft bags. i opened the bag a bit and gave it a good look--my guess is 50/50 pine fine + peat moss. it also has slow release fertilizer pre-mixed. about $7/bag.

the mix is a little heavier on the peat than i think is ideal for a good potting mix, but in the absence of easy access to pine fines, i think it'd do fine, esp if you added some perlite or vermiculite to the mix. (i think it would be an AWFUL product for planting--who wants BETTER drainage when planting shrubs and trees in FLA? maybe if you got muck...)

finally, our local landscape company (west volusia shed right off of i4 in deland) sells a potting mix that's pine fines, compost and peat for like $22/cu yd, so MUCH cheaper than the bagged stuff. it does not, however, contain fertilizer. they tell me that all the growers in the area use it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:20AM
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This is my first post so let me start by saying thank you for being so generous with information!

Having read Al's post in the container forum I'm eager to make potting mix. I found pine fines today at Wal-Mart in Lakeland on Highway 98 North. A 2-cu ft bag for $2.92. It's labeled Soil Conditioner made by Timberline with a source address of Old Castle Nursery in Atlanta.

Don't know if the stuff is any good but will be testing it soon!

Again, thanks for making so much wonderful information available!


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 6:32PM
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bigpaulie1972(9B Melbourne FL)

sherryocala is correct. I have been using the Soil Conditioner from Fafard and its straight Pine Fines. Heres a picture of the bag:

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 7:12PM
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ok guys this is the first I had heard of pine fines..
I rake up the pine needles for mulch since we are on 30 acres with various pine now all I have to do is take the wood chipper along and chip up old pine branches???
I love using the needles for mulch because it breaks downs
slowly and when I fertilize I just push it aside then put it back when done..sometimes adding more mulch if needed.
maybe a lot of work but it's free..
I know alot of people complain about bugs but I do not use the needles around the house foundation..and living in the woods there are always critters.. wear gloves and pay attention..same as composting

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 12:49PM
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