Pine bark is a long-lasting mulch that helps soil retain moisture, prevents weeds from growing, and provides nutrients for plants. Before spreading pine bark mulch in your garden, however, you should consider common problems to ensure that the mulch is helpful rather than detrimental.
Strong rainfall may wash away pine bark nuggets, rendering them useless to the plants they are supposed to help. As wet wood, pine bark mulch also attracts termites that may infest a home, warns the University of Kentucky.
Construct a ring of stones or another material around the mulching site to prevent pine bark nuggets from washing away. To avoid attracting termites, keep your layer of mulch 3 inches thick at most, and don't let it come close to wooden structures -- especially your house.
Toxic pine bark mulch is dangerous for plants. To ensure your pine bark is healthy, cut it from a healthy tree, and apply it while still fresh. If old pine bark develops a foul smell, spread it in an area away from plants to expose it to air. Water it to rid it of toxins. According to Cornell University, this will render the mulch safe again for garden use.