Pinestraw mulch etiquette

Manning, SC(Zone 8a)

Since we moved to the South I've been unsure about what to do with pinestraw mulch in the spring time. I hate trying to pull the weeds out thru it. Someone told me they just leave it on from one year to the next, but I have a hard time pulling the weeds out unless I remove all the pine straw first. I know this is a dumb question (using leaf mulch up north was so much easier) but what do most people do, remove it all in the spring and put fresh down, or leave it and try to pull the weeds out thru it?

(Zone 9a)

Hi Thea, unless you have some disease like scale on your camellias or some other insect or disease, I would just leave it and freshen it up with new. It will eventually break down and make excellent compost. You can cover the old straw with several sheets of newspaper and then put new pine straw down and that should kill off any weeds. However, if there is even a smidgeon of disease - get rid of the old stuff. You can still put newspaper down before adding fresh straw. It really does help.

You might want to check and see if your local library has Margot Rochester's books, "Earthly Delights" and her second one 'Down to Earth". Margot, who passed away a few years ago, was a SC gardener who had some fantastic ideas about keeping the garden in good shape without breaking your back or the bank.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Just hit the weeds with some weed killer .. the back of my yard where the grass won't grow is all pine straw. This afternoon while I was puttering around back there I was thinking I need to make a batch of weed killer which not only gets the weeds but all volunteer MG's that will start popping up any day now.

I always keep a spray bottle of weed killer around so that I can spritz them as soon as I see their little green heads peaking out from under.

This message was edited Mar 9, 2013 4:43 PM

New Bern, NC(Zone 8a)

Would you share your recipe for weed killer?
Thanks in advance, Entlie

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

I just use a commercial one, Ortho Total Kill for Weeds & Grass.

Holly Springs, NC(Zone 7b)

Best and cheapest, by far, vinegar. I buy it by the gallon and spray it at full-strength. It is an acid, so it burns those weeds right up!

(Zone 9a)

I use the 20% vinegar on all annual weeds. While the weather is cool the vinegar works more slowly, I sprayed it on some chickweed on Friday and finally today I saw some yellowing but during the warm weather it works within hours. It is not so great on my perennial weeds, it kills off the tops but they quickly return from the roots.

Over the years I have had a terrible problem with chamber bitter, the weed that has little seeds under the leaves. Every time I pulled one those the seeds would fall off and eventually germinate and those seeds stay viable for 6 years. I have found that the vinegar fries the little seeds also and I am finally getting the upper hand with that evil weed.

Summerville, SC(Zone 8a)

Like Ardesia said, vinegar won't kill the perennials which is what I have most in the back.

Johns Island, SC

I will be definately cursed by all "purists" here, but I use some killer-diller conconction developed by some evil corporation somewhere in the outer-universe clearly designed to obliterate Human Mankind as quickly as possible! Think it's called Di-Quat. Don't really care what it's called, it works! Each time, and every time I use it. In less than 3 days. I can relate to efficacy...being an "old fart"...who's already been there, done that, with standard organic procedures.But when a job needs to get done, "get 'er done"! (But with awareness, and caution)...

(Zone 9a)

The "Pro" versions of Round Up have Di Quat in them and I too use it on those stubborn weeds. - the wax myrtles and smilax that plague me. BTW, I use the dry RU, it is outrageously expensive initially but since you are mixing it with your own water, a bottle of it it goes a lot further in the long run.

I just learned about Garlon-D which can be used around water. They are using it in an effort to eliminate the invasive Chinese Tallow (popcorn) tree in a new park down here. Have not tried this myself yet but it sounds good.

Holly Springs, NC(Zone 7b)

StonoRiver, worry not! The only reason I use the vinegar is because I'm cheap. When I absolutely, positively, must have something dead I break out the glyphosate!

(Zone 9a)

LOL, down here in the Lowcountry where we have monster weeds that do not die back in the winter, the regular vinegar does not touch them. The 20% does, but believe me it is anything but cheap. I only "invest" in it because it is a little bit safer on the environment and I sincerely believe every little bit helps because the rest of the time I am hauling RoundUp.

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