Mulching

faintheart(z4b IA)September 20, 2005

Hi all!

I have a new daylily bed and also a new area of perennials including some new hosta purchases that my kids have named Mom's Park. :) I hope all will come back in the Spring.

My question is: what would your recommendation be for a mulching medium to weather the winter and prevent weed germination? DH is in the process of taking down an old barn and there is lots of aged oatstraw available to use or I also have some bags of pine bark mulch. Your insight is greatly appreciated!

Dee

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Maude_IA(z5-SE Iowa)

I'd be wary of oatstraw -- all those leftover seeds need is a little rain and solid ground - they could become the weeds you're trying to prevent. Compost them with some of the barn's 'other treatures' and let the heat kill the seeds.

I also know that mulch can hold moisture close to the crowns of plants and actually help them rot instead of protect them.

My philosphy is this -- if a plant can't live here on its own, then I'll replace it next year. Only the fancy roses get winter protectionÂ
Âexcept that we don't 'clean up' our gardens by removing every last leaf and twig in November. Leaves that are caught among the perennials are natural, and, as a lazy gardener, if Mother Nature does it, then I allow it, too.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 7:04PM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)

I echo Maude's thoughts...neither hostas nor day lilies need winter protection. However, I am definitely all in favor of mulch for weed control. The straw would work fine, if you were sure it was fairly free of weed seed. Personally, I use wood mulch.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 8:39PM
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garasaki(z5 IA)

I view mulching as a very important process. I live on a "new" lot, full of extremely compacted clay. Anything I can do to add organic material (and increase drainage at the same time) is great in my book. Mulching does exactly that. It also happens to protect plants (I happen to grow some roses btw) as well as conserve moisture.

So anyway, what I'm getting at is that IF your only concern is overwinter protection, you don't need to mulch (cause those plants shouldn't require overwinter protection). But mulching still will do a lot for ya, so if I were you I'd do it anyway.

One trick I've heard to keep weeds down is to lay down some newspaper on the ground before you mulch...

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 10:36AM
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iowa50126(z5IA)

I'll be using my shredded leaves for mulch on my new and old perennials. I don't cut them back until spring so hopefully the spent plants will hold the leaf mulch inplace.

I try to clear the leaf mulch away from the new growth in spring. It's a little more work... But, I paid money for these plants and just letting the survial of the fittest dictate what lives or dies seems less than frugal...lol

I'll also be collecting bags of leaves from the neighbors for more leaf mulch and my compost pile.

Pete in I.F.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 1:17PM
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stan_ia_z4(z4 ia)

Maude Ia is a very competent gardener. Pay attention to her comments. Stan

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 10:13PM
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faintheart(z4b IA)

Thanks all for your input!!! It is most certainly appreciated. :)

I have another question for those more experienced than I but will ask it as a new post.

Thanks again!

Dee

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 11:00PM
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diannp

We've been known to use straw on our veggie gardens, but we run it through a chipper/mulcher/shredder first. Sometimes we get some oat germination but it pulls right out. The veggie beds usually get turned under in the fall of the year after everything is out of them, at that same time we add a healthy dose of composted pony poo. I don't use straw on my perennial beds, tho. For those I use wood mulch, what ever is the cheapest at the time... Shedded white pine for the hosta beds and cedar or cypress for the beds closest to the house... And yes, I do put down newspaper in the newer beds before mulching to help control weeds. Mulch is a wonderful thing.

Diann
IA Z5a

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 10:08AM
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