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Hello Guest!
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Mulch for Hot Weather

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Post  sanderson 5/16/2013, 2:54 am

I need to cover my MM with mulch. The MM is crusty and hot, I'm watering with a hose wand at least once a day in addition to the drip lines that we are allowed to run 3 times a week. And, we haven't even hit the 100's yet! Any recommendations? I don't mind removing the mulch each time I have to work in a square. Thanks
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Post  Chopper 5/16/2013, 3:01 am

Any organic mulch would do and also contribute to compost at end of season. Straw comes to mind. Try to get straw rather than hay as there are fewer (supposed to be no) seeds.
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Post  camprn 5/16/2013, 6:24 am

I prefer a shredded bark mulch in the garden beds and wood chips in paths.

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Post  CapeCoddess 5/16/2013, 7:27 am

I use pine needles but am considering using unfinished compost that is mostly mowed oak leaves this year.

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Post  dvelten 5/16/2013, 7:46 am

I don't know if you can find it in California, but I like to use chopped straw. I get it from Agway in compressed bales like peat moss. It is heat treated to kill any weed seeds and is a light, straw color so it will reflect sunlight. I used to buy Mainely Mulch from Maine, but this year I tried Mulch Master which seems the same. The Mulch Master from Canada is marketed to landscapers for newly-seeded lawns so it might be more widely available. The stuff decomposes after a year or so.
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Post  yolos 5/16/2013, 10:27 am

I use pine needles on my strawberries but am afraid to use it on other veggies because I think it changes the acidity of the soil if it has not been composted.

I also use shredded bark as a mulch. The water seems to easily pass thru the mulch into the soil and then keeps it from evaporating.

This year I am trying composted oak leaves that are about 75% composted but not yet finished. I put them around my tomatoes last weekend and the soil under them is still damp. Whether I use it again will be determined by how easily the water can get thru the mulch to the soil underneath.

I tried wheat straw as a mulch last year. I got a good growth of wheat over the winter in every bed that I used the wheat straw. It was good for my compost pile but not good for the veggie beds.

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Post  Windmere 5/16/2013, 10:36 am

yolos wrote:I use pine needles on my strawberries but am afraid to use it on other veggies because I think it changes the acidity of the soil if it has not been composted.

I also use shredded bark as a mulch. The water seems to easily pass thru the mulch into the soil and then keeps it from evaporating.

This year I am trying composted oak leaves that are about 75% composted but not yet finished. I put them around my tomatoes last weekend and the soil under them is still damp. Whether I use it again will be determined by how easily the water can get thru the mulch to the soil underneath.

I tried wheat straw as a mulch last year. I got a good growth of wheat over the winter in every bed that I used the wheat straw. It was good for my compost pile but not good for the veggie beds.


Hi yolos,

I like your idea of using pine straw for certain crops. I have an ABUNDANCE of pine straw. However, like you, I have heard that it does change the soil's ph to a more acid content You mentioned you use shredded bark. Do you have a specific brand that works well for you? Any favorite store to obtain it from? Since we are neighbors, I thought it would be a good idea to ask you location of store.

Also, I have heard that a bit of pine straw on potato beds is very helpful for their growth. No sure if this is a myth.
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Post  donnainzone5 5/16/2013, 10:47 am

A year or so ago, when I still lived in Southern California, I used intact pine needles to cover one of my potatoes that was planted in a mostly shady area.

Surprise! Although it produced only one potato, that one was the biggest I've ever grown, weighing in at 10 oz., pretty big, I think, for a supermarket red variety.
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Post  yolos 5/16/2013, 10:57 am

Windmere wrote:
yolos wrote:

Hi yolos,

You mentioned you use shredded bark. Do you have a specific brand that works well for you? Any favorite store to obtain it from? Since we are neighbors, I thought it would be a good idea to ask you location of store.

.

Last year I got the shredded bark from Andy's nursery just south of Fayetteville. They were selling it as a soil amendment which we used in our flower beds. But it is not composted enough so I decided to use it as a mulch. So, they sell it as a soil amendment. There is no brand name. The bags are just clear. I think they shred it themselves. I asked for it again this year but about two weeks ago the worker there said the shredder is broken and it will take a couple of weeks to fix it. My only question would be, how much of the bark/wood is pine. But it looks real nice in the beds and very small particles concidering it is shredded.
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Post  Windmere 5/16/2013, 11:12 am

yolos wrote:
Windmere wrote:
yolos wrote:

Hi yolos,

You mentioned you use shredded bark. Do you have a specific brand that works well for you? Any favorite store to obtain it from? Since we are neighbors, I thought it would be a good idea to ask you location of store.

.

Last year I got the shredded bark from Andy's nursery just south of Fayetteville. They were selling it as a soil amendment which we used in our flower beds. But it is not composted enough so I decided to use it as a mulch. So, they sell it as a soil amendment. There is no brand name. The bags are just clear. I think they shred it themselves. I asked for it again this year but about two weeks ago the worker there said the shredder is broken and it will take a couple of weeks to fix it. My only question would be, how much of the bark/wood is pine. But it looks real nice in the beds and very small particles concidering it is shredded.

Yolos,

I just called Andy's in South Fayetteville. They now have some of the mulch you mentioned in stock (the man who answered called it a "soil conditioner"). They are very close to me. He told me that the price is three something (I can't remember how much he said). The bags are 2 cu ft. Their phone number is (770) 461-6089.
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Post  HOUSTONMOM 5/16/2013, 5:22 pm

Is it ok to use the bagged mulch that are always on sale at the home improvement store?Is there something in particular that should stay away from the MM?
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Post  sanderson 6/3/2013, 10:19 pm

From hot Fresno, CA. Found what I wanted: play ground bark. Light colored, plain old chopped wood from virgin forests. $20 for 1/4 yd. plus which filled two 33-gallon garbage bins plus some buckets. My Bark Co.produces it and it is OMRI cert.

Thanks to all who replied to my subject.
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Post  GloriaG 6/4/2013, 8:50 am

I'm just curious - do you bury your mulch in the MM at the end of the season?
How do you re-plant? We have a minimum of three crops per square in our area.
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Post  sanderson 6/4/2013, 9:04 am

Gloria, You'll get different answers from different folks. I don't think this will break down fast enough any time soon to mix into the MM. I bought the bark yesterday because we are hitting over 100 degrees and I wanted to keep the MM soft and the roots cool. I'm in Zone 9b and should be able to keep something growing almost year around. For each planting, I plan to remove the bark from the square, mix in some new compost, replant, then add the bark back to the top. At some point (next year or two??) it will go into my new compost bin that I am building and starting today.
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Post  GloriaG 6/4/2013, 10:34 am

That makes sense!

I've used straw, but like you I garden all four seasons, and wasn't really happy with it in the summer. I found it developed mildew under the shade fabric. Yours looks nice a clean.
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Post  sanderson 6/4/2013, 11:03 am

Gloria, I was THAT close to having to go with straw, when I found the play ground bark. We have terrible air pollution in the summer and I didn't think I needed farmer's lung from moldy straw on top of it. There are days I have to stay inside until way after dark because the pollution reaches "unhealthy."
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Post  GloriaG 6/4/2013, 11:12 am

Sanderson, I completely understand the pollution problem. I have allergy problems every time Possum Kingdom Park catches on fire.

I really like your mulch idea. I'm going to see if I can find some close to us. Thanks for the thread, it was very helpful.
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Post  ErinTX 6/22/2013, 7:17 am

Hi there,

I was reading your posts about mulch. I'm in zone 9 and I know I am going to have to mulch in this heat. I really like the idea of the playground mulch. My boyfriend can get free mulch from his work, because they clean up a lot of tree branches and sometimes have to cut down tree or clear trees that have fallen on their own. I had definitely planned on using that for my walk ways but not I am thinking that might work for in the garden as well. Do you think it matters what trees are turned to mulch? I know pine needles will affect the pH of the soil and there will be no way of knowing what trees were used in the mulch... but its hard to beat free!!
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Post  Lemonie 6/22/2013, 1:27 pm

I've just added cypress mulch to 4 of my beds and am about to add it to my 2 bigger beds. I was actually looking for something else at the time, but couldn't beat the price on the cypress and scooped it up. No problems so far seems to be doing the job. Anyone used this type before and have any issues with it? We're getting into some pretty hot times right now and really wanted a way to protect the roots and water consumption.
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Post  RoOsTeR 6/22/2013, 8:27 pm

sanderson wrote:Gloria,  I was THAT close to having to go with straw, when I found the play ground bark.  We have terrible air pollution in the summer and I didn't think I needed farmer's lung from moldy straw on top of it.  There are days I have to stay inside until way after dark because the pollution reaches "unhealthy."

I think you'll be much happier going the route you did and NOT using straw Wink Been there, done that. You saved yourself a bunch of pickin (unless you could have found a seed free straw...) tongue

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Post  yolos 6/22/2013, 8:55 pm

RoOsTeR wrote:
sanderson wrote:Gloria,  I was THAT close to having to go with straw, when I found the play ground bark.  We have terrible air pollution in the summer and I didn't think I needed farmer's lung from moldy straw on top of it.  There are days I have to stay inside until way after dark because the pollution reaches "unhealthy."

I think you'll be much happier going the route you did and NOT using straw Wink Been there, done that. You saved yourself a bunch of pickin (unless you could have found a seed free straw...) tongue
+1  Been there and done that too  mulch - Mulch for Hot Weather 671790
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Post  RoOsTeR 6/22/2013, 9:04 pm

Lol. That smiley is perfectly fitting yolos rofl

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Post  yolos 6/22/2013, 9:38 pm

Just to make sure everybody understands what can happen if wheat straw is used as a mulch if it has weed seeds or wheat seeds, here is a picture of a bin where I held my finished compost.  I covered it with wheat straw in the fall to keep the nutrients from leaching out.  See all the green stuff growing on the top.  That is either wheat or weeds.

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Post  sanderson 6/22/2013, 11:29 pm

Yikes!
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Post  Windmere 6/23/2013, 12:31 am

Oh my yolos!  I will definitely be using shredded bark as you suggested.  I have not yet made it out to Andy's, but I will soon.  Thanks for the illustrated warning!
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