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Restoring The Pine Straw Industry

/ / Landscaper
Long Leaf and Slash Pine Straw comparision

Chatham Property Maintenance has worked since 2009 to restore the customer’s faith in pine straw in the Savannah, Georgia area.  We all know that in the past pine straw received a bad reputation, and it was made to seem inferior to mulch.  Think about it, nothing about pine straw is inferior to mulch: pine straw looks nicer, it does not draw termites closer to your house, it is easier to maintain, and it is less costly.  The bad rep was caused by growers, balers, and landscaper and it lead to a decline in customer’s faith in pine straw.  Let us help you discover how the growers, balers and landscapers together destroyed your faith in pine straw, KEEP READING.


Quality pine straw is no different than any other crop. Pine straw  is harvested from pine trees just like those sensational Georgia Peaches.  Farmers plant the pine straw trees in rows like all other crops. In fact, it is absolutely amazing to see 500 acres of clean pine tree fields.  Seems simple huh, so how did this cause a decline in faith? Initially, pine trees were not used for harvesting pine needles for curb appeal.  Growers harvested pine trees for the lumber.  Thus, brush in the pine tree fields where allowed to grow uncontrollably because this did not affect the lumber.


Then one day, the ingenious idea came along to use the needles from the pine trees as mulch for flower bed covering.  Unfortunately, when the idea was initiated, it was harvest time and the fields where grown full of leaves, sticks, pine cones and other debris.  Instead of losing that years crop by completely cleaning the field, balers could not bear the thought of losing all that crop.  Listen, in the world of the baler, crop is money, RIGHT?  Year after year in field after field, this became a pattern.  Are you catching on yet?


With total disregard, the debris filled bales of pine straw reached the landscapers then customers.  To add to the problem the landscapers did not know how to properly install pine straw.  Hence, the pine straw straddled over your sidewalks, driveways and even the streets.  If you have ever had a job done right, you know that pine straw unlike mulch will remain in place in strong winds and rain.  This is where Chatham Property Maintenance takes over.

Our Role in The Savannah Pine Straw Industry

In 2012, Chatham Property Maintenance launched a massive campaign to restore the customer’s faith in pine straw.  During that time the pine straw industry in Savannah was at a deficit.  We found that the overwhelming majority of customers including landscapers were only familiar with one type of pine straw: Slash.  This is the type of pine straw sold at your local home improvement stores.  Customers were discouraged from the use because of the quality of the product.  Chatham Property Maintenance focuses on two aspects of pine straw.  We no only want to provide our customers with clean pine straw from clean pine tree fields.  We were determined to introduce our customers and local landscapers to an elite grade of pine straw known as Long Leaf.

Slash or Long Leaf what is the difference?

The reason many people only know of Slash Pine Straw is because the Slash Pine Trees grow faster and harvest longer than Long Leaf (Long Needle) Pine Tree.  As a result, growers were reluctant to plant Long Leaf Pine Tree fields.  The Long Leaf Needles are a better quality because the needle are longer and thickness than slash making them more durable and long lasting.  The longer needles allow them to inter-tangle better rendering them resistant to heavy winds and rain.  The thickness of the needle delays the break down rendering them longer lasting.  Because Long Leaf and Slash are different species, clean bales do not make the difference.  Clean bales are a result of production as explained before.  Generally, Long Leaf pine needles are cleaner due to the increased demand for the product.  Look at it like this: pine trees are no longer harvest solely for lumber, growers now maintain pine tree fields which leads to cleaner bales.  Clean bales only change the quality of the product, not the species.

Because of our diligence in maintaining our pine tree fields, we provide our customers with clean bales of the two best species of pine needles: Long Leaf and Slash.  Now you know why it has taken so long for the quality of pine straw to reach the current level.