What do you use for mulch?

marricgardensJuly 16, 2013

I tried using straw this year but we have no shade and the intense sun we get breaks down the straw fast. I was thinking of trying wood chips next year. The Hydro trucks dump their excess here so we were going to compost for a year before putting it down. Anything else people use? Marg

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I buy pine bark mulch, not nuggets. I used to use nuggets, and they don't break down fast at all, but heavy rain shifts them around too much. And when the pine mulch breaks down, it has a very good effect on my clay soil, loosening it very well...and I like the way it looks.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:44AM
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We've used pine bark, which we can purchase in bulk for about $30 per cu yd. There's a place just a few miles away that offers pine bark in three sizes - small, medium, and large. They charge to deliver, but I have access to an open trailer, so we spread a sheet of plastic under the bark and haul it home.

This year, however, we've started using grass clippings. I purchased a bagger for the John Deere riding lawnmower, and every time I mow, I get more clippings than I can use.

The grass clippings quickly form a fairly (but not 100%) effective weed barrier. As they decompose, they add valuable nutrients to the soil.

Best of all, grass clippings are free. Our mowing season begins in late March and ends in late October, so there is a continuous supply available.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:43AM
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I am on a budget ;) We use grass clippings. It's harder to pull weeds that grow through it but still ok and free, like Faraway Farmer says!

We used to take some free wood chips from our local brush dump (not this year - sick trees in the area), but like Kay says if it rains they'll move.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:10PM
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shive(6b TN)

I used to use shredded pine bark but switched to pine straw two years ago. I put newspaper under the pine straw and that seems to last longer than pine bark for me. I got a lot of termites with the pine bark. Plus, the pine straw is so much lighter to carry around and cheaper here than pine bark.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:00PM
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jean_ar(z8 Ar)

I have always used pine bark and its worked ok.Didnt put any this year as, with the broken wrist was too hard to drag bags of it around and spread it.I used a little round up on stubborn weeds that I couldn't pull up.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:29PM
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I use Mini Pine Bark from Lowe's or Walmart. I am sure I have put several of Mr. Lowe's children through college!

I like the way the Pine Bark looks. I also use Preen in the early spring after I pull the weeds.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:45PM
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By the truckload - hardwood mulch! For the last two years, I've had to get help - the gardens are too large to do this alone anymore. Three burly men with large wheelbarrows and big muscles can complete in one day what had been taking me a week to finish!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:39PM
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re: hardwood mulch
Wood mulches tend to leach nitrogen from the soil, which isn't good for your plants. Do you take countermeasures to compensate for that?


Excerpt from the above link:

Sprinkling at least something rich in nitrogen when heavily mulching is always important, especially with wood mulches. A layer of nothing but wood mulch will actually leach nitrogen out of the soil as it decomposes, potentially reducing growth

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Fertilizing, top dressing and soil amendments are all used regularly around here. None of the garden visitors ( this has been an AHS Display garden since about 1999) have ever complained about the plants here looking puny!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:08PM
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