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Re: Great Expectations

  • Subject: Re: Great Expectations
  • From: "Dan & Lu Nelson" <Hostanut@Bellsouth.net>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 10:02:42 -0400

Hey Butch,

What you say about mulch and compost are true. I've been doing tree care work
for 20 years and have lots of mulch on hand. I let it age a couple of months
and turn it with a bobcat before using usually. There is no doubt that it
improves all types of soil. I find it is particularly useful for woody plants
and trees. A big problem with hostas is southern blight and mulch seems to
make SB more of a problem, but no problem for woodies.

I have grown hostas with great success in 100% composted wood chip mulch. It
does take 3 years or so for the wood chips to bread down for potting soil

All mulch is not created equal. In the Journal of Arboriculture several years
ago there was research showing the nutrient content of various mulches. Bark
and solid wood mulch was lowest in nutrients. The highest nutrient content was
found in chipped limbs that were in full leaf, which is what I frequently have
from my work. Chipped limb trimming in full leaf will heat up instantly when
dumped in a pile which shows they are somewhat near the ideal 30/1 carbon to
nitrogen ratio for composting. Anything less that 30\1 C/N ration just takes
longer to break down but the end result is still the same.

Some types of wood fiber to avoid...........grindings from large tub grinders
that grind up stumps along with hole trees. Lots of soil disease problem and
sour mulch results from these mulches. Tub grinding of stumps also results in
a mulch that compacts a lot and often forms an air tight barrier....which is a
very bad property for a mulch. Unfortunately this kind of wood waste is often
used commercially because it is cheaply obtained. I've also found that tree
company type tow behind stump grinders make a mulch that is not very good. If
put down lightly it works fine but if over 1 inch deep it can cause a problem
with air exchange.

Dan and Lu

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