Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Longleaf Pine Straw

Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) straw is big business in South Carolina and Silver Bluff Audubon has reestablished over 600 acres of longleaf pine forest on its 3,000+ acres to provide wildlife habitat and revenue. Silver Bluff helps to pay for a portion of its education and wildlife habitat programs by selling up to 50,000 bales of pine straw per year for landscape and mulch needs throughout the region.

The “straw” is raked by hand into piles, then placed and compressed in a rectangular box. The bale is then tied with string, stacked, and hauled away in large tractor trailers. Pine straw offers little nutrient value to the soil, but does help to retain soil moisture in the stands of longleaf, so care is taken to leave the “duff” layer of needles during the annual rakings.

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