Pine straw can be a nuisance in abundance, but can also be used as a beautiful mulch cover for landscapes. Landscapers like to use pine straw instead of wood chips or other materials because it is more resistant to washing away, does not attract termites and conserves moisture. Builders use pine straw to prevent soil disruption during construction projects. Turn this demand into a money-making venture by finding a good source of pine straw, packaging it and marketing it to landscapers and builders.
Items you will need
- Box Baler
- Truck for transportation
Find a source of pine straw. Purchase a pine tree farm, rent the rights to the pine straw on an existing farm, or lease the land. A pine forest will need to be at least eight years old for it to produce sufficient pine straw. Expect to harvest between 100 and 150 bales of pine straw every year per acre of land.
Clear land and get rid of weeds. Remove pine cones, twigs, limbs, and weeds. Consider spraying the area with herbicides or using a mechanical weeding machine.
Rake and bale pine straw into standard bales weighing between 15 and 20 lbs. Bales should be around the average side of 14 inches by 14 inches by 28 inches. A mechanical box baler can help speed up the process, especially for a large area.
Pine straw harvests can occur year round, but the largest crop is usually obtained between October and November. Consider storing pine straw to sell it year round. Selling during a non-harvest period may result in higher profits.
Market your pine straw to retail outlets, directly to landscapers or builders or to wholesale buyers. Prices fluctuate based on supply and market demand, but a bale of hay typically ranges from $3 to $8 each.
Fertilize after you have finished harvesting pine straw from an area. Pine needles naturally fertilize trees, so by removing them, you will need to replace the nitrogen lost to maintain healthy pine trees with sufficient pine needle shedding for harvesting.