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Re: fixing up your soil /weird fertility

Hi Ray,

I would be cautious when using fresh mulch around herbaceous perennials.
I have read that southern blight can live on un-decomposed organic
material and I would be careful around hostas if you have any signs of a
SB problem.

Around trees and woodies I think 4 or 5 inches of mulch is great either
fresh or composted. Always keep mulches away from the stems and trunks
of woody plants because high moisture levels can cause decay. If the
mulch has a high percentage of green leaves you would be better off only
using only an inch or two because of heat build up.

The tree mulch highest in nutrients are trimmings from live trees that
consist of leaves and limbs like the power line clearance companies get.
This mulch is much higher in nitrogen than chipped whole trees and when
dumped in a pile will go through 30 days or so of high heat as the
microbes do their thing with the carbon and nitrogen. There is not
enough nitrogen for a complete breakdown of the wood chips. This "hot"
mulch may cause damage to plants if applied too thickly. It is best to
let all fresh wood chips sit for at least a month or so before using to
give damaging compounds a chance to dissipate. I let this mulch sit for
2 or 3 years and then use it in the garden around woodies and work it
into the soil as compost.

I don't think disease is a big problem with wood chip mulch.

If you are using a lot of wood chip mulch you may want to add some extra
nitrogen to your fertilizing planning. I was at a seminar in early Feb.
and a Professor from Florida State U. had data that showed that nitrogen
applied to the surface will leach through 5 inches of wood chip mulch
with 3 or so inches of rain or irrigation.

Any mulch should be good for pathways. Even very fresh mulch. Just
remember that in time mulch turns into muck! I have had people who
wanted to use fresh mulch in their muddy driveways and I have always
advised against it because in a couple of years it turns into a real
mess that is even worse than wet soil. (we don't have much clay in our
area, though)

Dan Nelson
Bridgeville DE
zone 7

----- Original Message -----
From: <RBRSSR@aol.com>
To: <hosta-open@mallorn.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2000 9:03 PM
Subject: Re: fixing up your soil /weird fertility

In a message dated 02/26/2000 7:21:45 PM Central Standard Time,
sussextreeinc@ce.net writes:

<< These days I use decomposed wood chips which are a by produce of my
 of work. If you have the room most tree care companies will be glad to
 drop you a load at no cost if they are in your area.
Dan, would you only use this once it is composted?  I was wondering if
were to use it right away as a ground cover in the garden, or even for
if we would have to worry about the possibility of spreading a disease
cut down tree may have had.  Your thought please.
Ray Rodgers, Bartonville, IL, CIHS, Zone 5
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