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Re: Re: CULT: mulch

----- Original Message -----
From: <Oneofcultivars@aol.com>

> Have you ever attempted mulching irises with pine staw? If so, kindly
> your experience. I am at a decision point. Not whether to try or not. But
> whether to mulch every row in a bed or every other row.

For what it's worth, pine needles aren't a great way to insulate most irises
in areas that get a lot of snow or freezing rain. Heavy, wet snow or rain
can pack down pine needles blocking air movement and leading to all sorts of
nasty outcomes especially with beardeds.

We've tried, with very good results, "mulching" with branches. Loosely piled
on top of each other with as much as 4" gaps and able to allow sun in, these
structures hold warmer air around plants without smothering them. Moisture
goes straight through and the branches are sturdy enough to make a small
igloo when the snow piles up.

Tests on pasture grass showed the areas protected by the branches could get
a head start by as much as 3 weeks.

Skip & Christy Hensler
Newport, WA

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