The Q&A Archives: Red mulch

Question: A landscaper recently planted a number of plants and grasses in my yard then proceeded to lay a black plastic covering to prevent weeds ,followed by a covering of bright red wood chips as a mulch She claimed these were red wood but they looked dyed to me. Do you know what the chips are? Can they harm my plants? How do I feed the plants through this cover?--- Drag Dutina

Answer: There are a number of bark mulches that are bright red when fresh. The color mellows as the mulch ages. You could have "Economy Fir Bark", "Light Juniper" or "Red Medium Hemlock". All are good mulches. The larger the chips, the longer it takes for the chips to decompose and the less often you'll need to replace it. As for feeding your plants, the landscaper should have left a circular area at the base of each plant. You can use liquid fertilizer by pouring it into the soil at the base of the plant or you can move the mulch, cut away some of the black plastic at least as far out as the dripline of the shrubs and grasses, then replace the mulch. Removing the plastic means you may get weeds popping up in the area, but it makes a handy place to broadcast time-release fertilizer.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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