They call it pine straw. It's just pine needles from the Long Leaf Pine raked up and gathered together in a bale. Apparently regular mulch invites too many critters and diseases in our neck of the woods, so we use this instead. It's a new medium for me. It's pokey and requires much more work than simply dumping out a bag of bark and smoothing it around with my foot. One positive is that it inherently sticks together and won't wash away in the rain or blow away in the wind.
I kind of like that they found a way to reuse the shed needles. It seems less wasteful than using wood chips and despite the annoyance of spreading and patting it into place, ANYTHING is better than weeding.