Roses forum: If wood chip mulch ties up the nitrogen in the soil...

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Name: Vicky Thompson
Michigan (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member Sempervivums Roses Peonies Region: Michigan Rabbit Keeper
Lilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Farmer Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Annuals
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Cottage_Rose
May 28, 2011 7:39 PM CST
is there anyway to counteract this?
I have to use thick wood chips in my flower/rose beds by the
house because we have a horrid weed problem.
Any suggestions? Confused
"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck"
Cottage Rose Birds n' Blossoms

Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
May 28, 2011 8:04 PM CST
Vicky,

The mulch supply company that I frequent has a composted bark/chip product that I like to use. From what I've seen at least, if the material is at least partially broken down when it's applied it doesn't rob nitrogen from the soil. You might check around and see if someone in your area sells some of this. It's worth a bit extra cost-wise since it saves on extra time & labor later.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
May 28, 2011 9:22 PM CST
I've never understood how the mulch sitting on top of the soil can rob the plants of nutrients. - If you mixed it in, maybe, but on top? I think if it worries you, a layer of compost under the mulch should help. I just pile anything and everything on my beds as mulch, acting on the assumption that the layers gradually decompose from beneath and feed the plants. It must be working as I don't give my roses any other "food" and they seem to do okay (except the Hybrid teas which die off in droves.)
Porkpal
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
May 28, 2011 9:42 PM CST
I have armadillos that come and dig in the yard at night. Mulched garden beds + armadillo digging = mulch mixed down into the soil where the miscreant animal digs. I try, but it's too hard to separate all the mulch.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Skiekitty
May 29, 2011 5:40 PM CST
Linda - I can see where the armadillos are digging up your gardens.. they're insectivores, aren't they? I've noticed that since I've been using all the mulch that I have, I have a massive centipede problem and the worms get HUGE.. like bigger than the "Canadian nightcrawlers" you buy to go fishing with. I love my mulch.. it breaks down naturally like in the forest making the soil that much better. In the back, this year, I've noticed that the soil is not as compacted already & seems.. richer? than in previous years w/o the mulch. I know that in the front yard it's definitely not compacted clay like it has been in the past. Thumbs up for mulch in my book.
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
May 29, 2011 5:55 PM CST

Moderator

I only use wood mulch in the pathways here. It attracts so many earwigs, sowbugs, and creeping beetles of various types that it's positively lethal to Clematis and some other plants. I just try to keep all of the bare spots between plants covered by annuals.
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Jun 11, 2011 1:00 AM CST
Have you tried popping a few mothballs just under the mulch? I put some in the ground near my tree lilies . It keeps the skunks from digging them up. At least the skunks are after grubs instead of plants, but they can damage the bulbs with their nasty claws.

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Jun 11, 2011 1:13 AM CST

Moderator

Mothballs are really dangerous for dogs, cats, and other pets.
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
Andi
Jun 11, 2011 1:56 AM CST
They aren't especially healthy for humans, either. However, I buy a box from time to time and keep it in a glass jar in the outside closet. I slip a few in with steel wool behind the siding and bury a few here and there around certain bulbs (in a part of the garden where I don't grow any food or herbs).

My garden is fenced in so Winston the pug doesn't go there. Bella the cat stays inside. The neighbors's cats stopped using my garden as a litter box after I started sprinkling coffee grounds around. I prefer a few strategically placed mothballs to the "pitter patter of little feet" in the walls or chewed bulbs. Rodents - chipmunks, voles, mice, squirrels - were a big problem the first year that I moved here. Tiffany, my late Westie, was a big help finding where they were sneaking in. Winston the pug is a pacifist - except for pomeranians for some reason. I may need to find him a terrier companion at some point.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Jun 20, 2011 9:48 AM CST
zuzu said:I only use wood mulch in the pathways here. It attracts so many earwigs, sowbugs, and creeping beetles of various types that it's positively lethal to Clematis and some other plants. I just try to keep all of the bare spots between plants covered by annuals.


Huge Thank you! for this advice, Zuzu! I almost lost a new clem until I remembered reading this. I pulled back the compost from around the crown and put in a layer of chicken grit instead. The plant recovered almost instantly! Appreciate the info!!!!
I tip my hat to you.

Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
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LindaTX8
Jun 20, 2011 10:30 AM CST
Can't do that that here. Severe drought, heat and going to Stage 3 water restrictions this week...must have mulch around all the plants.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Jun 20, 2011 10:56 AM CST
Linda,

The compost and mulch is still there, it's just pulled out and away from the crown.

Sorry about the water restrictions where you are, that's awful. Thumbs down
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
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Skiekitty
Jun 20, 2011 11:01 AM CST
Linda - I know what you mean.. the roses with mulch do SOOOOOO much better than those w/o mulch... I need to finish my mulching project ASAP. I deal with the sowbugs (rolypolys) and centipedes (hate centipedes). Don't have many earwigs this year, but spiders.. wow! And carpenter ants.. bleh!!

(just learned that sowbugs are not actually insects, but rather a type of a crustacean! Wow!)
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats

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