Pine Bark Nuggets vs. Mulch: Which Mulching Material is Best for Your Garden?

Written by Oak Simmons
Published: June 7, 2023
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Mulch is a material that covers the surface of the soil to help your garden retain moisture and to improve its fertility. It can also reduce the number of weeds that come up and improve the overall appearance of a flower bed. There are many options when it comes to mulch, but which kind is best for your garden? Should you use pine bark nuggets or mulch? The material best for your garden depends on a few factors: climate, soil pH, and aesthetic preference.

Pine bark nuggets are one of the many kinds of mulching material. Are they right for your garden? Let’s explore the benefits of pine bark nuggets and one potential drawback.

Pinus ponderosa

Fallen pine trees are used to make pine bark nuggets.

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Pine Bark Nuggets vs. Mulch

Pine bark nuggets share some similarities with all mulching materials. All mulching helps the soil maintain moisture, insulate it from extremely high or low temperatures, and prevent weeds.

However, pine bark nuggets also have some benefits over other materials, which may make them a better choice for your garden. Here are three benefits of pine bark nuggets and one potential drawback to consider.

man's hands in gardening gloves are sorting through the chopped wood of trees. Mulching tree trunk circle with wood chips. Organic matter of natural origin

It is important to wear gloves when handling wood mulch because it can give you splinters.

©larisa Stefanjuk/Shutterstock.com

1. Rain and Wind Resistance

Since pine bark nuggets are large, they hold up well in heavy rain and winds. While other, lighter materials may wash or blow away, heavier pine bark nuggets are more likely to stay in place.

2. Lower pH

Pine bark nuggets have a lower pH than most other mulching materials. As pine bark nuggets break down, they make the soil underneath them more acidic. This is beneficial for some plants. For example, azaleas, rhododendrons, and daffodils prefer acidic soil. If your garden has acid-loving plants, pine bark nuggets are a great option.

Rhododendrons in full bloom

Rhododendrons prefer acidic soil and benefit from pine bark nuggets as mulch.

©iStock.com/Jean-Luc Farges

3. Aesthetics

Pine bark nuggets are a beautiful golden-brown color and can add to the beauty of your garden. If you enjoy the look of pine bark, then pine bark nuggets are an aesthetically pleasing option.

Drawback: Not Good for Alkaline-Loving Plants

Since pine bark nuggets have a lower pH and make the soil underneath them more acidic, they are not the best option for plants that prefer alkaline soil. Examples of plants that prefer alkaline soil are lavender, rosemary, and lilac. If your garden has alkaline-loving plants, other mulching materials are a better option. Hardwood mulches are beneficial for plants that prefer alkaline soil.

Lavandula angustifolia

Lavender prefers alkaline soil, so pine bark nuggets are not the best option for this plant.

©iStock.com/ASIFE

The photo featured at the top of this post is © larisa Stefanjuk/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Oak Simmons is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering North American wildlife and geography. They graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. A resident of Washington state, Oak enjoys tracking mammals and watching birds.

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