Pine straw makes an excellent and attractive landscaping mulch and can be a valuable source of income for forest landowners. Longleaf pine is the favored species because of its long durable needles. The income from pine straw harvesting can often cover some of the costs of plantation establishment and pay for prescribed burning and other management practices to enhance longleaf habitat.
Pine straw harvesting provides early economic returns from a longleaf stand; however, intensive raking practices can detrimentally affect these forests. Annually raking densely stocked stands to bare soil may stress the trees making them more susceptible to pests and can jeopardize long-term stand health. Excessive herbicide use and raking techniques can be destructive to the diversity of plant species in longleaf pine communities, resulting in little wildlife value. Rather than maximizing the amount of straw from your stand, consider finding a pine straw management strategy that balances the need for incremental income generation with the other long-term goals of your stand.
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