On many occasions we probably use pine straw as mulch for trees and shrubs as a convenient way to dispose of a nuisance. However, with a little planning pine straw can help the homeowner and landscaper achieve many of the current landscape trends such as naturalized landscapes, low maintenance landscapes, and water efficient landscapes.
Pine straw can be used to create a contoured bed from a group of individual plants. This reduces the sod area that must be maintained and reduces mowing time required to mow around individual plants. It also gives the appearance of a forest floor, thus creating a naturalized area.
A pine straw bed in areas of extensive surface water run-off can reduce soil erosion and turn an unsightly area into a pleasing natural area. The addition of plants that tolerate "wet feet" creates a well landscaped wet area.
Pine straw mulching reduces the amount of water required and keeps a more uniform soil moisture. This can reduce periods of drought stress which in turn make the plant more susceptible to disease and insects.
Mulching with pine straw can reduce weeding required in the landscape. This reduces time required to pull weeds and the use of herbicides. There is a desire by many to avoid using pesticides if at all possible.
If you do not have a source of pine straw in your own yard, you may want to check with you friends and neighbors. Often times, people will give away pine straw out of their yards in order to keep from having to haul it away themselves.