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is there weed seeds in compressed straw

Certified Straw Compressed Bale

Standlee Premium Products Straw is used for animal bedding, erosion control and composting. Straw is not recommended for equine bedding as horses may consume it causing digestive problems. Standlee Premium Products Certified Straw Compressed Bales are easy to handle and convenient for storing. Straw bales are approximately 18 cu. ft. expanded and Certified Noxious Weed Free.

Please contact your local store for information on Standlee product availability.

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LANDSCAPING NOTE

Barley or Wheat seeds may be present and may germinate if used in gardens or for erosion control.

Straw Mulch In Gardens: Tips For Using Straw As Mulch For Vegetables

If you’re not using mulch in your vegetable garden, you’re doing entirely too much work. Mulch helps to hold in moisture, so you don’t have to water as often; it shades out weed seedlings, cutting down on weeding time; and it composts into nutrients and amendments for the soil. Straw is one of the best mulch materials you can use around your vegetable plants. It’s clean, it’s light, and it breaks down relatively easily, giving your plants more of what they need to grow. Let’s find out more about using straw mulch for gardening.

Best Types of Straw Garden Mulch

The first key to using straw as mulch is in finding the right types of straw garden mulch. Some straw mulches may be mixed with hay, which can weed seeds that can sprout in your garden rows. Look for a supplier that sells guaranteed weed-free straw.

Rice straw is very good, as it rarely carries weed seeds, but wheat straw mulch in gardens is more readily available and will work just as well.

Tips for Using Straw as Mulch for Vegetables

How to use straw mulch in the garden is easy. Bales of straw are so compressed that you might be surprised at how much of your garden one bale will cover. Always start with one and buy more if it’s needed. Place the bale at one end of the garden and clip the ties that run around the bale. Insert a trowel or sharp shovel to help break up the bale into pieces.

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Place the straw in a 3 to 6 inch (8-15 cm.) layer in between the rows and between the plants in each row. If you’re growing a square-foot garden, keep the straw to the center aisles between each garden block. Keep the straw away from the leaves and stems of the plants, as it may spread fungus to your garden crops.

Straw will compost pretty quickly in most garden settings. Check the depth of the layer in between rows after about six weeks. You’ll probably need to add another layer, to the depth of 2 or 3 inches (5-8 cm.), to help keep the weeds down and moisture in the soil during the hottest part of summer.

If you’re growing potatoes, straw is the ideal way to hill the area around the stem. Usually when gardeners grow potatoes, they hoe the soil around the plant and pull loose soil into a hill around the potato plant. This allows more potato tubers to grow along the stem underneath the soil. If you pile straw around potatoes instead of hilling up the soil, the potatoes will grow cleaner and be easier to find at the end of the season. Some gardeners avoid using soil at all for their potato plants, and just use successive layers of straw added throughout the growing season.

Does Grass Seed Need to Be Covered With Hay?

Seeding a lawn needs the right conditions and protection for the seed to sprout into fresh, young grass. On a slope, heavy rain or winds may wash the seed away. Birds may be temped to eat the seeds before the the grass takes root. Hay or straw protect fresh seeds from common problems, such as birds or scorching heat from direct sun, but using the wrong type of hay may cause new problems, such as unwanted plants growing in the lawn.

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Purpose of Hay or Mulching Material

Some people add hay, straw or mulch when they seed their lawns while others do not, which may lead you to wonder if you need to use them. The mulching material keeps the ground moist, which gives the seeds a better chance of sprouting. It also keeps seeds that haven’t been tamped into the ground from blowing away or being eaten by wildlife as much as they would be if left completely exposed. The most important time to use straw or a mulching material is when planting on a slope because it helps keep the seeds right where they belong. Applying straw atop a flat seeded area is optional and generally beneficial to the seeds, but you should make sure the straw is dry and free from mold so it does not introduce mold to the area. There’s no benefit to using straw in humid or extremely wet weather, as the soil will already have all the moisture it needs.

Hay vs. Straw

Some people use the terms hay and straw interchangeably, but the two are not the same. Hay is fresh cuttings of grasses and seedy plants, primarily used for feeding farm animals. It contains the seeds of the plant cut down. Because it contains seeds, these seeds could sprout elsewhere, meaning this type of hay is not a suitable mulch. Straw, on the other hand, contains dried stalks of plants such as wheat, with no seeds or weed matter present. Straw will not sprout when used as a mulch.

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Which Hay or Straw to Use

Not all hay is created equally. Pasture hay, the type used used to feed farm animals, is full of seeds that could potentially take root in your lawn, making it less than ideal when seeding a lawn. These seeds may contain types of grasses not suitable for a lawn, as well as weeds. Salt marsh hay, on the other hand, comes from a salty marsh, as its name implies. It requires a salty environment for its seeds to sprout, so it serves well as a mulch for freshly planted grass seed. Virtually any type of straw works well as a mulch.

Applying Straw and Hay

A shallow layer of straw is all that’s needed to help retain moisture for the soil and fresh seeds. One bale of straw covers approximately 2,000 square feet. Sprinkling it in a light layer allows it to decompose naturally so you won’t have to rake it up once the grass has sprouted. If you’re applying it to a sloped area, tack mesh or netting, such as the type used to keep birds off plants, into the ground over the area to help keep the straw in place, which in turn keeps the seeds intact.

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.