Mulch Question

Bamateacha(z8)May 31, 2006

We are in our third year of gardening. Most of our efforts have been concentrated on a shade/partial shade woodland type garden in our backyard. The oaks put down huge amounts of leaves. We decided to invest in a leaf shredder and have been raking out beds, shredding leaves, and putting back as mulch. However, we're awfully short on mulch for all of the areas we'd like to have.

A tree removal company owner has offered to bring me truckloads of chipped up wood from his jobs. We have 5 acres so it wouldn't be a problem to dump the woodchips. Would it make a good mulch for our woodland garden? Also, once the leaves fall this autumn/winter, I'm assuming that we'll just have to rake up all the leaves and mulch and start over?

Silly questions, I's just that I'm not sure how to care for our plants in the best possible way.

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Lucky you! Get as many loads of wood chips as possible.
You may want start by using them in areas you want mulched.
I would leave the leaves on the wood chips. If you must, blow the leaves into a pile, shred them, use them where you want but don't rake up the chips.

Here is a link that might be useful: Using mulches

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 4:02PM
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Great! Thanks for the reply and for the link.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 5:24PM
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I have done this for 4 truckloads of chips from our utilities service and also private services. The only drawback which I found is if you get them in the summer, the leaves rot down and if you leave them in a pile while u get time to spread them out, they get quite smelly. I got some in the fall and it was much better. However most tree co. like to cut in the spring and summer because the sap makes the wood easier to cut. I did have a problem with hundreds of baby trees popping up everywhere. I spent a while pulling them out.Over all it is a good thing.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 9:40PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The leaf shredder was a fine idea! Chopping leaves up into smaller pieces helps the decomposition process speed along, and almost certainly eliminates the chance of anaerobic conditions from developing. That's what causes that awful smell, by the way.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 11:18AM
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Eek! I hope I don't wind up with all those baby trees to weed out.

Rhizo- yes, I think the leaf shredder will be a good addition to our gardening tools. There are so many oak leaves that just rain down in the fall/winter that I have to do something with them. They don't decompose very quickly without the shredding.

Should I blow the leaves into a pile and shred in the fall/winter or let them lay on top of the perennials until closer to spring? I suppose the wood chips will be blown along with the leaves, but I guess the shredder will handle chips.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 8:19PM
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