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richdelmo

What is Pine Bark Fines

18 years ago

I cannot locate it any of the large department stores or local nurseries. What exactly is it anyway and can pine bark mulch be used as a substitute, if not can anything else be substituted. Else I will probably use pure MG potting soil for my large containers.

Comments (41)

  • 18 years ago

    Here is a link that goes into more depth than you are likely interested in on potting mix components. Quite a lot of info on pine bark including fines.

    http://www.scnla.com/Potting_Mix_Choices.PDF

    Long story short is pine bark fines are partially composted pine bark. Fines are what are used in mixes because of the small particle size. Some of it will look like compost and be really tiny particle sizes, a good amount will likely be 1/4" chunks and maybe up to half will be up to 1/2" in size (about the size of a dime).

    Can you substitute mulch? No, not really, as the larger particle size doesn't serve the same purpose/function as the fines. Sometimes the labelling is the problem though and bark fines are sold as mulch. Sometimes it is mulch, sometimes it is fines ;-). When I think of mulch I think of nuggets or larger particles, not fines, but look at the stuff inside the bag to be sure.

    You can substitute it with more easily found stuff though. Peat moss is easy to find pretty much anywhere and is a mainstay in potting mixes. Do be aware though that some pine bark fine advocates would not consider peat a good substitute. If you simply can't find the fines where you live though, what can you do?

    Call a large nursery that makes their own potting mixes (most do). They will almost certainly have it. They may not sell it, but they have it so maybe beg a little ;-)

  • 18 years ago

    It's sold as "soil conditioner" where I live.

  • 18 years ago

    This could help: it is a pic of Al's soil components.
    http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/gal1019192325670.html

    As regards the size of the pieces: most recommendations were around 1/4" to 1/2" pieces, but two of the bigger European maple growers I asked actually talked about using 1 inch and even bigger pieces mixed half/half with your other components.

  • 18 years ago

    Thanks everyone much appreciated.

    So can last years pine bark mulch spread in the yard be used as a potting soil mixture now if it has broken down enough?

  • 18 years ago

    Don't see why not. Inside pots or outside? Inside I would be tad concerned about what critters I might bring in, but outside, why not? Use what ya got.

  • 18 years ago

    Lowes sells it as Soil Conditioner - I use it for potting up any of my shrub cuttings and also as mulch for my gardens. You can mix it with peat moss and vermiculite to make a soiless mix....

    Lynne

  • 18 years ago

    I bought mine at Lowe's too and it was in with the mulches -- a green and white/clear 2cu ft bag and the brand was Greensmix. I paid about $3 per bag.

    Kristin

  • 11 years ago

    Would coir be an ok substitute for pine bark fines?

  • 11 years ago

    The one I found is made by Kambark. It says Pine Bark Mulch. If it says nuggets or mini nuggets it will be too coarse.

    It is my experience that virtually anyone outside of this forum has neither heard of, nor has any idea what "pine bark fines" are, and will stare slack jawed at you as if you have sprouted geraniums out of your skull!

    Ask for fine pine bark mulch that can be used as "soil conditioner", (as in to aid in drainage of clay soil)

    Read the small print on the BACK of the bag, and look for the phrase "Can be used as soil conditioner" and/or "particulate size" of 3/8 in to dust (hopefully mostly 3/8")

    Good luck!
    SpaceMan

  • 11 years ago

    I found this, if I seive it down would this work?
    I also found reptile substrate fine orchid bark chips, think I read it wouldnt do tho.

  • 11 years ago

    That may be perfect. But look at the fine print to determine whether it is pine or fir bark, and not hard wood bark. Coir is not a good choice, in my experience. When fine, it's like peat. And sometimes it's got salt in it.

  • 11 years ago

    It would be great if it said PINE instead of fine bark.

    But if it is pine, wow! All you will have to do is add perlite. Lucky.

    MIke

  • 11 years ago

    Thanks ill avoid coir.
    Ive emailed a question about size of the particles but didnt get a response lol ill ask another about what it is.
    Seems lots of people are having trouble getting "pine bark fines"
    Im going to get a seive and probably do it that way.
    If I mix bark with loam and perlite would I still need lime? Will bark be ok with palms?

  • 11 years ago

    You should sieve out the pieces that are bigger than a dime (3/8 inch or 1 cm.) but don't sieve out the dust size particles for the 5-1-1 mix. If by loam you mean garden soil, that is way too heavy to use in a potting mix. And I definitely think you need the lime if you use pine bark as the major part of your mix. It not only brings up the pH, it also provides calcium and magnesium. Both 5-1-1 and gritty mix work great for palms. You really need a fast draining mix for them.

  • 11 years ago

    Its not pine its bark collected from our woodlands so a mixture.grrr
    Im about ready to give up, ill stick to my loam and perlite maybe, (when I say loam I mean john innes formula) is there anything else I can add to help with aeration and drainage or a commercially sold mix thats better overall?

  • 11 years ago

    Might this be any good?

  • 11 years ago

    Or this if I break it up and screen it?
    Thanks

  • 10 years ago

    I found this today. Would this be a good substitute?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Fine Pine

  • 10 years ago

    Posted by girlndocs 8 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, May 3, 06 at 0:05

    I bought mine at Lowe's too and it was in with the mulches -- a green and white/clear 2cu ft bag and the brand was Greensmix. I paid about $3 per bag.

    Kristin
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    That is what and where i bought mine .
    They sell 4 pine products:

    1- Large nuggets ...(2) Medium Nuggets ...
    those are TOO big for 511

    (3) Small nuggets: the size of nuggets are better than 90% smaller than 1/2". And maybe about 5% sap wood. But not enough real fines in it. But it can be fixed by adding peat moss.

    (4) Pine Bark Mulch: This stuff is the best, when mixed with (3) above (small nuggets).
    It is not composted but just crushed.

  • 10 years ago

    pmb2005: Those pine shavings are not what you want for the 5-1-1. I would try to avoid nuggets and shreds as well.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hi,

    Is this product from Lowes for Pine Bark?

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_92118-66882-92118_0#BVRRWidgetID

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    suyog, Looks like there is a lot of wood in it. It may not...Get a bag and see, If it is OK, get more. Where are you located? It came up as available at my local SC PA Lowes. If you have an AGWAY near you, get their "Pine bark Mulch", It's much more suitable.

  • 8 years ago

    mblan13 - Thanks for the reply

    I seem to find nothing near my area. I'm in long island NY

    Not sure what to do!

    Thanks

  • 8 years ago

    There is an AGWAY listed on Long Island, NY. Go to their website and check out the "find Location". It will show a small map of where it is.

  • 8 years ago

    damn! how did I miss this..

    Thanks a ton!

  • 8 years ago

    Agway store in NY says, there are not in soil and gardening anymore.. they are more into farming and pets / animals..

    back to square one!

  • 8 years ago

    They should still get products from the AGWAY disrtibution network, ask them if they can order it for you.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    would this be a good substitute? it might be too large?

    https://www.lowes.ca/mulch/premier-56l-bark-nuggets_g1518700.html

  • 8 years ago

    I think those nuggets would be too big. You want something no wider than a dime. I believe you are in Canada. In another thread bout the search for pine bark fines in Canada, someone made this suggestion: "Go to or call your local Home Hardware. Ask for #5011-943, All-Treat Farms Canada Red Natural Pine Bark Mulch."

  • 8 years ago
    Thank you! I just ordered 3 bags from the Home Hardware. Do I have to sift these pieces or can I just use directly into the mix?

    I'm planting emerald cedars into containers.
  • 8 years ago

    JJ: It depends on what you are using the bark for. If you want to make the gritty mix, it's best to sift it so you remove all the pieces over 3/8 inch and under 3/16 inch in diameter (dust). If you want to make 5-1-1, you only need to remove pieces that are 1/2 inch in diameter or bigger. Even though that brand was recommended, I have never seen it so I don't know what the size the bark is. I'm hoping it will work out for you.

  • 8 years ago
    @ohiofem so I picked up my order today from Home Hardware (only place that orders this stuff close to me) and after sifting through a 1/2 inch wire mesh. Its left me with a decent yield. One bag of 2 cubic ft, I'd say about 70% usable and 30% large pieces. I went through 3x bags and each is around 70%. Thanks for the suggestion.
  • 8 years ago

    Great work! Good luck with your emerald cedars.

  • 7 years ago

    can't find any fines. How about composted horse bedding? I know of a pile about 10ft tall. It's pretty dark. I'm growing tomatoes & peppers if it matters. I'm looking for something that needs minimal refreshing yearly; I'v been reusing my mix of soilless mix + municipal compost---I discard about a third to half and replace it with compost, peat & perlite. I don't really have any problem with my current method except having to redo 30-40 5-gallon buckets each year and getting compost & other ingredients. Even with a cement mixer it takes me forever---It took me into July to get all my plants in, including raised beds...

  • 7 years ago

    I bought some perfect pine bark fines on Amazon just 2 months ago and now they are unavailable. $29.99- 40 liters and 1/4-3/8". I could brain myself for not buying more! Have emailed the owner to see if more will be available later and post if they are.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FIAJZBQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

    I did just buy a more expensive lot on Bonsai Jack's website...7 gallons for $44.17. Just hoping the quality is the same as the previous ones from Amazon. Best wishes.

  • 6 years ago

    Can someone ship a bag of Agway to Georgia for me ;)

  • 6 years ago

    I'm planning to mix the 5-1-1 mix for the first time this spring and have a quick question about the pine bark:

    I found pine bark which is sold in 2 sizes: either 1/16 - 1/4" or 1/4 - 5/8"

    Which one would be better for the mix? I read somewhere that smaller is better for this mix, but then again isn't the overall goal to have an aerated soil with bigger particles?

    Thanks in advanve for your help!

  • 6 years ago

    Bigger is good, but too big is bad. Go with the 1/16 to 1/4.. the 1/4 to 5/8 is going to be mostly too big.


    Bark for the 511 mix is recommended to be "dust to 3/8" in size. In inches, of course. That includes all of the 1/16 to 1/4 bag, but only a third of the 1/4 to 5/8 bag.

  • 6 years ago

    Thanks illsstep! I will go with the smalles ones. Just to be sure: I won't have to sift those because even very small particles are okay for the 511 - right?

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Correct. No sifting required to use that bark in the 511 mix - it should already all be the right size.