Trees and Shrubs forum: Apple trees and ceder mulch?

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Name: Brandi
Laporte, MN (Zone 3b)
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bpsgarden
Jul 14, 2013 2:17 PM CST
Can ceder mulch be used on apple trees or can the mulch also spread the disease the same as the live ceder?
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jul 14, 2013 5:29 PM CST
Hi bpsgarden, Welcome! to ATP!

I don't know anything about growing Apple trees or the diseases that affect them but I found this information at the Gardens Alive website that might be of help. To be safe, maybe you could use some other type of compost or mulch for your Apple trees; something other than cedar chips.

http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=879
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Jul 14, 2013 6:17 PM CST

Plants Admin

We've had the Cedar Apple Rust here for years. I recall conversations with the orchard owner just up the road who was displeased, to say the least, about all the Junipers and Cedars people were growing. I don't know how long the spores of the Cedar phase remain viable Brandi, but I agree with Lin, use a different mulch. Better safe than sorry.
Evan
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jul 15, 2013 12:01 PM CST
We're often dealing with cedar-apple rust here in NC due to the thousands of red cedar and junipers that grow here in abundance. Those combined with the native crabapples and we've got a long term relationship going on between them!

But, on a good note, bpsgarden, the spores require a live host to fulfill their life cycle and your mulch won't be considered a live host. If you like you could let your cedar mulch "rest" before using it. Or just keep an eye out for any fresh cedar galls in it. They'll be brownish/red and look bumpy, almost like they have a bunch of little horns on them.

Normally the apple orchards will choose to spray a fungicide on the leaves of the apple trees, halting the life cycle of the spores. I'm sure that is an option for you as well. Some folks look for the galls on the cedar trees as well but considering the spores will easily travel several miles once they're released that would sure make an awful lot of trees to search out.

Hope this helps.
And Welcome to ATP!~

Shoe
Name: Brandi
Laporte, MN (Zone 3b)
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bpsgarden
Jul 15, 2013 3:07 PM CST
Wow, thanks for taking all the time to help. We had just purchased several apple trees and have been struggling to decide what kind of mulch to use. I want organic because we plan on eating the fruit one day but the only mulch that would not possibly have arsnic was ceder from our local greenhouse. I appriciate your help and advice! Smiling Thanks.
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way."  ~C.S. Lewis, "The Screwtape Letters", 1943
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jul 15, 2013 5:22 PM CST
Well, actually... the only mulch you'd be getting with arsenic in it would most likely come from your local landfill where they take treated pallets, grind them up and sell them back as "mulch". Or they'd be taking in lumber from demolition projects, etc. And that's if the lumber comes from commercial construction where the "old" treated lumber is still allow, containing chromated copper arsenate. The newer treated lumber available to home owners no longer is treated that way but basically has a large amount of copper in it for its treatment.

Any bagged mulch from the garden centers, box stores, etc, will most likely contain hardwood or softwood mulch and those won't have any treated lumber/arsenic in them. Keep in mind, arsenic is naturally present in nearly all soils but the type and quantity will not have deleterious effects.

Lastly, you should also be comfortable using leaves, straw, even pine straw as a safe mulch if you choose to get away from any type of wood mulch. This will (unlike cedar mulch) break down faster and feed your soil, the soil life, and contribute to feeding your fruit trees. And if you're a new fruit tree grower it is best to keep the mulch, whichever kind you choose to use, a few inches away from the trunks of your trees so you don't set up more troubles.

Best to you and yours!
Shoe

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