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Re: New Garden Plot for Hostas

At 10:52 PM 8/6/98 EDT, you wrote:
>the problem perhaps be that I have mulched the whole area with shavings from
>cedar wood - it smells quite nice 

Hi, if there is a noticeable odor, perhaps the shavings are of Western Red
Cedar. Dust from this wood, when inhaled, is a carcinogen in humans and
other animals, and it is generally a respiratory irritant. That is why it
repels insects so well when you stuff your dog's bed with it, but the dog
won't sleep there.  Mulching with Western Red Cedar will ward off insects,
worms, and even some microorganisms above and below soil level (for a
certain distance).  So maybe the microorganisms in humus - the beneficial
part - are dead or gone.  I have found that cedar shavings are very nice
for shrubs but when used on herbaceous perennials I have the same results
you are having.  Also, when used near a firethorn, expect the plant to
develop a disease which the cedar carries (that is white cedar; I don't
know if red cedar is similarly infected).

Sheila Smith
Niles, MI  USA, Z 5/6

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