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#358163 Jun 22nd, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
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I have used mulch for years...all the magazines say use it...it makes the garden look nice, and it is supposed to help retain moisture. But I've increasingly found that it can also keep water from reaching your plants roots if you don't get rain on a regular basis. During the rainy months I have no problem with mulch...it does it's job, but during summer when we seldom get rain, I can stand and water in the same spot for what seems like an eternity and the water will not have even penetrated the mulch. What good is that? I end up having to push the mulch away from the plants and then water again. I'm beginning to wonder if the mulch is even necessary at all. Anyone else feel this way or otherwise?


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alankhart #358164 Jun 22nd, 2012 at 09:30 PM
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The way to fix it is to mulch every third year..and to work up the mulch twice a year to keep it from compacting. I have never had problems since doing this. No mulch equals tons more weeds I fine.


~~Tam~ You can bury all your troubles by digging in the dirt.
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Sunflowers #358171 Jun 23rd, 2012 at 12:14 AM
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That is good to hear, Sunflowers, I have only recently started using mulch in a few places, now I know not to do it every year and to loosen it a couple of times! I newly mulch my pine trees and I think I would have put new mulch on every year! Thanks for the tip


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alankhart #358177 Jun 23rd, 2012 at 04:59 AM
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Around trees and shrubs, I try to mix a little of the mulch in with the top inch or two of soil before making a layer of mulch on top. It helps the water find its way through that line of tension that soil builds on top of it. It is a water resistant barrier. Like water drops beading up on a layer of dust or flour. Clay soil is almost impossible without additives.
It still does not hurt to make sure the mulch is not compacting as well. Here I live in a mountain pass and it is a wind tunnel. I like a little compacting to help it to keep from blowing away.


~Tina
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What every gardener loves the most, Begins and ends in rich compost. (Tina)
alankhart #358204 Jun 23rd, 2012 at 11:21 PM
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I'm pro mulch. I use an organic large piece bark mulch. I use it every year I can afford it. From what I understand the first year the mulch will pull nitrogen from the soil to help it begin degrading. The second year it puts the nitrogen back into the soil. So I kind of have to keep doing it every year or it messes up that cycle. And the bio-matter that the mulch becomes mixes with my clay soil to make it much better at accepting and retaining water without getting wet. Then the only thing I have to add to the flower beds is sand when very loose soil is needed.

Now I don't mulch some types of plants. Carnations, portulaca, columbine or anything that needs light to germinate. With the type of mulch I use it's counter productive with these plants that I would really like to see self seed. So these I have to keep the soil amended myself and leave the mulch off. Although I've heard that other people don't have a problem using mulch with these types of plants.


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alankhart #359236 Aug 3rd, 2012 at 12:08 PM
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Crushed limestone seems to work okay as mulch here: I'm populating
an iris bed by division,and the transplants are holding on despite a
ferocious heat wave we're having,thanks to the moisture retention it provides.

And as a plus, it's permanent.

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For sure, mulching helps plants pull through a drouth.


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