- Pine straw is a popular landscape ground cover throughout the South.
- Pine straw has superior properties over other organic mulches.
- All four native pine in East Texas make a first-rate mulch.
- Pine straw is a renewable resource that may supplement forestland investments.
- Pine straw is retailing for $5 to $10 per 25 to 50 pound bale to landscapers, nurseries and garden centers.
- East Texas pine stands yield 80 to 120 bales per acre per year.
- The initial cost of preparing a stand for pine straw harvesting cost approximately $200 per acre.
- Landowners can lease their land for as much as $30 per acre for baling rights.
- Fertilizer may be essential to replenish nutrient loss to pine straw harvesting.
- Maintaining a basal area of about 90 square feet per acre is important in controlling understory vegetation as well as in maximizing straw yields.
- Removal of straw from stands is preferably done every 2 years.
Advantages to the Forest Landowner
- Production of pine straw will provide a source of income while trees are being grown for timber.
- Production of pine straw might provide some tax relief.
- The aesthetic appearance of the forest stand is improved by removing weeds and other understory vegetation.
- Landowners can contract with a harvesting company which will harvest the pine straw and have very little time invested.
- Removal of pine straw may affect the nutrient balance and reduce the long-term soil productivity in addition to decreasing the growth of the trees.
- Some wildlife species which normally reside in forest stands may be adversely affected by lack of cover and food supply.