Abrasion and Crumble ResistanceHighly resistant to foot traffic and handlingBecomes increasingly brittle with age
AvailabilityDependable year-round productionSeasonal; spotty
Bed Preparation / WeedsRake out old straw once; pre-emerge once; less weedsRake out old straw annually; pre-emerge annually; more weeds
BreathabilityMaintains breathability; helps oxygenate soil and deter mold and fungus growthMats, thatches and becomes spongy; decomposes and acts like second soil layer, causing roots to grow “up”
Chemical ResistanceNot affected by herbicides or pesticidesAbsorbs chemicals
ColorConsistent longleaf pine reddish-brown “spring” needles, the most prizedInconsistent; depends on season, species, freshness, weather
Color RetentionUV-stabilized; tested; warranted to retain color for 10 yearsDecomposes immediately; turns brown; bleached gray in 6-12 months
ContaminantsNone, always clean, pure , sterile balesEven when hand-combed, contains weeds, grass seed, mold spores, pine pollen, insects, fungus, mildew, sticks, twigs, leaves and pine cones
Coverage/Unit50 sq ft @ 3.5″ depthDepends on bale size
Environment / HarvestingPost-industrial recycled product; clean product can be recycled at end of useful lifeUnregulated; mechanized raking increases tree mortality; over-harvesting negatively affects forest growth and soil productivity, causes erosion and loss of wildlife habitat
FlammabilityRequires sustained exposure to flame to burn; will meltHighly flammable when dry
InsectsDoes not attract insectsDamp environment attracts insects, especially ants, roaches and termites
InstallationClean, easy, quickGloves recommended
MaintenanceTurns, fluffs easily; extends lifeCrumbles when turned or fluffed; top-dress every 4-6 months
Moisture RetentionPasses moisture to soil and helps prevent evaporation; patented concave needle profile funnels all moisture to soilNeedles absorb and trap moisture
Needle QualityConsistent mixture of 9-10″ strand lengths to simulate highly-desired old, original longleaf pine needlesHighly variable by species on pine; mostly loblolly and slash, with 6-10″ needles
Rain / Water ResistanceWill not absorb water; lighter than water and will float; not recommended for low-lying areas subject to flooding or run-offWill wash-away if used in areas subject to flooding or run-off
Soil NutritionOver years, breaks down into harmless carbon, hydrogen, calcium carbonate and iron oxideIncreases acidity
Volume LossNone; does not decompose100% loss; most in first six months