I live south of Raleigh so there are a lot of options concerning mulch. I've been reading that there is a loss of nitrogen when pine bark is used. I use pine bark fines because it is easy to get it around plants and I've even used it in some potting mixes. I don't use hardwood mulch because of the tannic acid. I love pine straw but need too much to be cost effective and I don't have enough cut up leaves. Now am beginning to wonder about the pine bark. I know everyone looks for beauty but am also looking for healthy.