Using Straw for Garden Mulch - Knowledgebase Question

Fairfax, VA
Question by melfax
May 2, 1999
I see by your Tip of the Week that you recommend using pine straw for mulching around plants.

I would like to know if plain straw that comes in bales is also suitable, and would I use the same wet newspaper placement beneath the straw?

Answer from NGA
May 2, 1999


In my experience plain straw works just fine as a mulch, either with or without a layer of newspaper beneath it. Regular straw is a good source of organic matter as it breaks down and has fewer weed seeds than hay. To some extent the use of newspaper would depend on how thick a layer of straw you use. I simply peel "pads" off the bale much as one would slice pats off a stick of butter and lay them over the garden. Some gardeners use a fluffy layer instead. With some experimenting you will determine which thickness or depth of straw works best for your garden.

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