Ask a Question forum: Parrot Feather as mulch. Good idea or not?

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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 12:12 PM CST

Plants Admin

I have three ponds and I consequently have a never-ending surplus of Parrot Feather. I was wondering whether I could use it as mulch in the flower beds after drying it out in the sun. Those clumps and long ropes are pliable enough to serve nicely as weed-blocking mulch between plants, but will they regenerate on land? The last thing I want is a surplus inside and outside the ponds.
Name: Ginger
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gingin
Sep 1, 2013 12:28 PM CST
I don't have an answer, but the title of this thread caught my eye. Thought you wanted to use feathers off parrots for mulch Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing What can I say "Gray moment" here Shrug!
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 12:37 PM CST

Plants Admin

Imagine having that many parrots. Blinking
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Sep 1, 2013 12:52 PM CST
In my opinion anything organic can be mulch. Some of it is not especially attractive and some sheds water too readily - a possible problem with real feathers. What is it like once dry?
Porkpal
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Sep 1, 2013 12:57 PM CST
I would dry it out and go for it but only in one area to see if it starts growing from when you water your plants. If it doesn't, you'll have lots of free mulch Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 12:58 PM CST

Plants Admin

It's hard to describe and I can't find any photos of it when it's dry. It dries as long ropes that clump together nicely and can be torn apart easily. I'm just worried that it could come back to life when I water the flowerbeds. I'm hoping it can only be vigorous when it's growing in water.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 1:00 PM CST

Plants Admin

We cross-posted, Vic, but I think that's what I'll do. We're in the middle of a heat wave now, so it should dry out nicely after I pull it out of the ponds.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Sep 1, 2013 1:00 PM CST
I found one reference to it being used as a mulch in an orchard forum. The poster loved it and used it around kiwis. They did not say weather it was dried first or not, but I am reasonably sure would be ok either way but surely, once dried.
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[Last edited by Horntoad - Sep 1, 2013 1:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 2:16 PM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks, Jay. That's just what I wanted to hear. Smiling
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 1, 2013 2:33 PM CST
Some people use seaweed, so why not. At least there is no salt problem with your aquatic plant.

I must admit, I too first thought the post was about real parrots. *Blush*
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Sep 1, 2013 3:11 PM CST
greene said:Some people use seaweed, so why not. At least there is no salt problem with your aquatic plant.

I must admit, I too first thought the post was about real parrots. *Blush*

I think the problem here is not weather it is safe to use around other plants, but rather if it would start growing in the new location. Parrot Feather is very prolific and is difficult to eradicate once established.
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 3:48 PM CST

Plants Admin

I was hoping that it's only prolific if it's grown in water.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Sep 1, 2013 4:26 PM CST
Probably only water or maybe very wet soil.
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Sep 1, 2013 4:27 PM CST
I use our pond algae as mulch, but I know for certain that it can't grow outside of a water habitat.

I did find this, however:

"Because of its capability of establishing itself in wet soil above the water..." http://plantsrescue.com/category/water-plants-2/page/2/

I'd be as certain as I could be that it was truly dead first. Smiling
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 4:52 PM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks for this new information. I will kill it as much as I can, Chelle. Big Grin This is amazing, though: It actually can be grown in soil in containers. I'll be using it in clumps above the ground as mulch, so it should be easy to remove and discard the clumps if they suddenly show signs of life.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Sep 1, 2013 5:03 PM CST
Perhaps the rejects could still be composted?
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Sep 1, 2013 5:12 PM CST

Plants Admin

That's my plan, Porkpal. Anything that starts to grow will be dumped into the compost heap and will be taken care of that way.

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