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Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Posted by cheezdoodle12 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 24, 13 at 22:01

I think I bought the wrong stuff... It was between this and Pine Bark Nuggets, but they felt too chunky.. and of course there was no way to see the product inside the bag..

So I lugged this home, up a flight of stair and just opened it a little while ago but it looks like splinters and sawdust.. I want to transplant some peppers in the Pine Bark mix I keep hearing such good things about. :(


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

yeah, that looks terrible for the base of a potting mix. If you can find mini nuggets, that may work, but, the regular ones like you said are too big. At least that's been my feeling on them.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 24, 13 at 23:34

Yep, that is 90% wood pulp. That will do more harm than good. I have purchased many bags of different stuff that I was hoping would work. I just keep adding it to the mulch along the house. hahaha.
When you find something that will work and not cost $20 per container, you will be in heaven. I am still looking as well. The good pine/fir bark seems to be a very regional thing.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Get the (pine bark mini-nuggets). Leave them out in the sun for a couple days. They'll dry out and be easy to split/break up. Its a bit of work, but it works if you cant find the right size.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 12:00

"if you cant find the right size". Those are the key words. Along with "very little sapwood". If you do find a source, you should talk to them to make sure it will be carried on a regular basis and not just a one time deal. If it is, buy enough to fill half the garage and tell the wife that parking her car outside in the driveway is "temporary".
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Bruce, i did alot of repotting this weekend, cause i start seeds in plug trays. I wanted to let everyone know the orange bags of pine bark at Kmart are pretty good in my opinion. I picked 2 large McDonalds cup fulls of sapwood out of a 2 cf bag. So you may want to check Kmart. "Gardners pride" is whats on the bag. John


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 20:38

Awesome ScorpionJohn. I appreciate the confirmation on that. Now if it would just warm up and the snow would melt, they might think about opening the garden centers around here. As soon as they do, I will be hitting the local Kmarts.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

They are still closed here too. I bought a few extra bags last year.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Thanks everyone, I have a K-mart not too far away so I'll probably look there. I just hope I don't have to go through too many duds.. My poor peppers are really in need of being transplanted..


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

The Evergreen Pine Bark Mini-Nuggets arrived at my local Lowes last week in carload lots (as in rail car, not UPS "car"). Good stuff.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Not to take this thread off topic, but I am not familiar with sap wood. It I buy a bag of pine bark nuggets, what do I look for ?


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Bonnie: Sapwood will pretty much stick out like a sore thumb amongst the nuggets. Usually lighter in color and have the shape of a splinter of wood. Cheezedoodle's pic above is LOADED with sapwood.

Kevin


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Sapwood is usually lighter and has grain; it is essentially lumber, after all. The bark is dark red-brown and is more like sheets stuck together.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Okay, thanks for the info!

So what will leaving the sapwood in the mix do?


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

From what I understand, it will cause the BARK to decompose faster. So, that would not only cause compaction but also(because it's mainly a WOOD-based medium), rob the "soil" of nitrogen.

At least that's what I deduced ...LOL. I'm just an amateur though. You might ask Josh(Greenman28).

Kevin


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

I ended up going to Lowes and found Pine Bark Mini Nuggets, but they aren't Mini.. I pulled some Sapwood out.. not sure if I got it all but I looked for lighter colored chunks of wood basically.. The Bark that was left was pretty chunky and of course the whole bag was wet so it was hard to break up. Anyway, I mixed it with some Perlite & other potting soil and Vermiculite.. I know it's not the ideal mix but hopefully it'll lighten up what I had been using. I only transplanted 1 pepper so far. It seems happy.. :)


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

What brand of mini-nuggets? It would be nice to see a pic of the bag and/or contents, too.

Bark contains an enzyme that inhibits decomposition, but sapwood rots away quickly, sucking nitrogen out of the soil. And of course, as it breaks down the effective average particle size in the mix shrinks, leading back to the water retention problems the mix was designed to avoid.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 12:03

I just picked up a bag of "Pine Mulch" from a local Kmart. It was in a purple bag. It was frozen solid so I am letting it thaw so I can inspect the contents. I am not holding out much hope that it is "BARK" but I will just use it around the yard if it isn't. I will post picks after I open it up and and inspect it. I didn't see the orange bags but they seemingly don't have all their stuff out yet..just getting started up here.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 14:37

OK, it finally thawed enough be able to unbag some and spread it out. It is still quite damp but it looks to be mostly pine bark. There is some sapwood but mostly bigger pieces which would be easy to pick out. The one obvious issue I see right off is that it is not very fine. A lot of bigger chunks that would require sifting and probably significant waste. I will be able to tell better once it sits in the sun and fully thaws and dries out. The photos below show the pine bark as it came out of the bag, still wet. There is a quarter and a dime on the bark for reference.
 photo 20130401PineMulchfromKmart001_zps85a17ed4.jpg
 photo 20130401PineMulchfromKmart002_zps202b1759.jpg
 photo 20130401PineMulchfromKmart004_zpsa716d39e.jpg
 photo 20130401PineMulchfromKmart005_zps1121450b.jpg
Bag was purchased as local Kmart garden center.
I will update with a photo or two after it dries out a bit in a couple days probably.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Here's a photo of my 2nd attempt at finding Pine Bark in the right mix.. I pulled out largest chunks & sapwood.. and so far my peppers are still standing. I've even started to harden them off a little the last few days.. Finally, above 40's temps!!

Now if the mix was not good.. would I know right away? I'd have time to re-pot them, right?


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 18:25

Cheezedoodle: To me that looks like it still has a lot of sapwood in it. And it looks like there are a lot of very large chunks. Could you take another photo with a coin on top for size reference?
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Bruce, here is another photo with a few coins on it for reference.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 21:16

Yep, it sure looks like a lot of sapwood. And those pieces of bark look awful big. Most pieces look as big as the coins. Have you tried sifting it yet? I don't know if the stuff I have will be good or not until I get it dried and then sift it through the 1/2" mesh.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Well, turns out I don't live in nirvana. Got some of this year's Evergreen Mini-Nugs and there is considerably more sapwood and larger chunks of bark than previous. A lot like Bruce's pics above. Also a bunch of the inner bark that looks like sheets or curls.

Guess it'll have to do, though. One good thing - Lowes has started to put torn bags in clear "recovery bags" and sell them at half price.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 20:08

DMForcier: Are you referring to my pics of the stuff in the purple bag or the pick above with the arrows on it?
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 3, 13 at 17:40

OK, here is what I have come up with after sifting my bag of "Pine Mulch" with a 1/2" screen. I lost about 1/4 of the mulch with pieces bigger than 1/2"
 photo 20130403PineBarkMulch5_zpsb2466c44.jpg

 photo 20130403PineBarkMulch5x_zps092b0343.jpg

 photo 20130403PineBarkMulch7_zpsd80b1a49.jpg

There seems to be quite a bit of dust/sand/dirt in the mix.
 photo 20130403PineBarkMulch8x_zps5f831c7b.jpg
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Bruce, I think I'd screen that or skip the peat in your 5-1-1. That looks like a lot of water retention there. :-)


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 9:17

Tsheets, I am working on that issue now.
Thanks,
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Bruce, the one with the arrows. Fortunately very little dirt/dust, unlike you latest pics. ick


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 18:58

Yep, mine has more dust/dirt than I care for.... I am considering running it through a window type screen.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 12:18

Here is my final product after sifting through 1/2" and then 1/8" screen:
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

You had better luck than I did Bruce. I bought the same brand at Lowes, and it is horrible. It was at least 30 percent sap wood. Hopefully the second bag will be better.

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

One thing you guys/gals might want to consider is ditching the big box stores.

I did some research last year and started calling around to the smaller, independent nurseries and landscape companies. One place actually sold fines in bulk for 70/yd. But a few sold that GreenAll Microbark that I've talked about. And although it's pricier than the "mini-nuggets" at Home Depot et al and i have to go to the next city over to me to go get it, it's almost all usable.

Good Luck

Kevin


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Has anybody tried this? It's not pine bark. I would assume it would work just as good. Am I mistaken? I looked at the pine bark mulch, and it was full of sap wood. This hard wood mulch looked much better. Did I waste my money?

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 16:32

Tim, I think it needs to be pine or fir bark. I am certainly not an authority but others can answer that with a bit more certainty. However, that is the same brand as the Pine mulch that I pictured above in the purple bag. Is that the Pine bark mulch you are saying had too much sap wood? Mine had some but what I consider an acceptable amount.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Yeah Bruce, it was the same brand. It wouldn't be so bad, but it's small stuff and is taking forever to pick out. Here's a pic of what I'm left with after about an hour of separating.This is only about a third of the bag. I get as much as I can out and use it any way. I guess I'll have to wait and see how it goes.

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

I will second Bruce that it has to be Pine or Fir bark. I don't recall the specifics, but, it has to do with a compound that is present in those two barks.

I also had a LOT of sap wood in the same brand when I bought it last year. Let me tell you, you don't want to make that mistake. When I bought it, they didn't have any mini-nuggets, they only had the bark mulch. The supply up Bruce's way must be from a different source than mine, even though it's marketed under the same brand.

But, anyway, I wouldn't chance that unless you can talk to someone that can positively affirm that what you have is ok. I don't think it's the right stuff, but that's just my gut feeling.


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

I guess I'll have to take it back and exchange it for pine bark mulch. I just wish we could find some good stuff with less sapwood. I separated for 2 1/2 hours and got enough to pot 2 plants. I still have about 25 plants left. This is becoming a painful process!

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 23:12

peppernovice: That sounds like tooo much effort...in my opinion. I am guessing I could glean nearly all the sapwood out of an entire bag of my stuff and have it fit in about a half gallon jug or less. The bigger waste is the bark and particles that are over 1/2" or under 1/8". I still think I can get about 7 gallons or so of usable bark from a 2cf bag. I will have to sift a few more bags and keep track to find out for sure. But I think I have a usable solution with the stuff I found.

Where did you buy your stuff? I got mine at a Kmart. If you have one nearby, check it out. But I have come to realize that garden products are very regional.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

I bought mine at Wal Mart, but I also checked Lowes. They both had the Timberline product, and it looked the same at both places. I bought some stuff at a Mom and Pop hardware store last year. It was made by a company called Butterfield. It was way better. I'm going to try to get by there today.

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Yes, avoid hardwood - stick with Pine or Fir.
Spruce and Hemlock would probably work if you have a source.

Josh


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Josh...This just says hardwood bark mulch, so I have no way of knowing what kind of trees were used. Do you mind explaining why other trees are unacceptable?

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 20:30

peppernovice, pine, fir, spruce and any other conifers are considered a softwood variety. hardwood trees normally have regular leaves such as Oak, Maple, Birch, Elm, etc.....

For the 5-1-1, it is likely going to have to be a conifer or something with "needles" for leaves. But to save yourself some frustration and confusion, I would concentrate on Fir or Pine specifically.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Thanks for the info Bruce. I'm just curious as to what differentiates between acceptable and non acceptable. Is it something in the chemical make up of the bark? Does pine or fir rot at a slower rate. Does bark from other trees attract bugs? Will we upset the aliens if we use oak? I must know! :) I'm just funny that way.

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 3:45

I think it has a lot to do with the aliens. Last time I used some hardwood bark, I had to wear a tin foil hat all summer while the lights kept buzzing the house at night.

Josh knows, hopefully he will chime in on this one.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Thanks Bruce...I'll start making my tinfoil hat today. If I remember correctly, it has to be at least 10 inches tall by 8 inches wide. Last time I used heavy duty foil. Do you remember if standard foil is acceptable, or will that lead to getting probed?

Tim


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 7:40

You need to use the "heavy duty" kind and the key is to have the "shiny" side facing out. If not, you could actually cook your brain and it does leave you open to random probes and scans.
Bruce


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Something else to consider, I am too lazy to make my own soil, Fafard 52 mix is around 60-70% pine bark. My peppers love it and do wonderful in it.
Pam


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

peppernovice -

I found this in a post over on the container forum:

"Q. Why do you use pine bark fines? Bark fines of fir, hemlock or pine, are excellent as the primary component of your soils. The lignin contained in bark keeps it rigid and the rigidity provides air-holding pockets in the root zone far longer than peat or compost mixes that too quickly break down to a soup-like consistency. Conifer bark also contains suberin, a lipid sometimes referred to as nature�s preservative. Suberin, more scarce as a presence in sapwood products and hardwood bark, dramatically slows the decomposition of conifer bark-based soils. It contains highly varied hydrocarbon chains and the microorganisms that turn peat to soup have great difficulty cleaving these chains."

So, basically, yes, the conifer bark rots more slowly. :-)

Pam - I wish I could find that here. Closest dealer according to their website is about an hour away. There's no way I'm driving an hour for some container mix! haha! Maybe one day I'll just happen to be in the area, though.... ;-)


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RE: Pine Mulch - just wasted 4 bucks I guess..

Tsheets....Thank you . That's exactly what I was looking for. I guess I could use the hardwood bark, I'd just need to add more perlite. I guess it's best not to tempt fate. I guess I just have to bite the bullet and get some more pine bark mulch.

Tim


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