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Benefits of Mulching

By TBGDN
November 21, 2013

Mulch has many benefits when applied to certain perennials, vegetables, shrubs, and trees. In nature, mulch is formed and supplied generously by means of decaying plant litter, falling leaves and pine needles, and rotting trees. In the garden, we must help.

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joseinfiesta
Nov 23, 2013 7:52 AM CST
I live in Central Florida and all over the South there is the threat of termites. I once used commercial red mulch and after awhile i found termites under it, fortunately i bought spikes that either killed them or made them move somewhere else (hopefully not into my house) Wouldn't the discarded leaves and other vegetable materials pose the same problem? Termites live off vegetable matter.
Thank you, José
Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Master Level Native Plants and Wildflowers Peonies Hummingbirder Dog Lover Lilies
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TBGDN
Nov 23, 2013 9:01 AM CST
Hi there José,

Welcome! to All Things Plants!
Termites are everywhere, on every continent (except maybe Antarctica?). And I even had to replace a wall once because of infestation on my enclosed porch. Upon reconstruction I had the soil around the perimeter of that area treated with a barrier product, and I've never encountered another problem. Like everything else they fit into nature's re-cycle program just as much as bees, ants and scavenging animals. But with that said I cannot remember a problem in the gardens.

Years ago we had a large tree removed, and I left the stump in the ground which the termites gradually devoured over the years. They left a rich, dark material where the stump once stood; and that area was turned into one of our most productive flower gardens. Unless they bother the plants or house I leave them alone. My worst garden enemies are the above ground kinds pictured below. It's not a perfect world. Sad

Once again, WELCOME! I know you will like it here. Smiling
Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/c654df Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/99eac2 Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/d32f6b Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/9cff29

Lux Umbra Dei
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Nov 23, 2013 9:39 AM CST
Leon, great photos. What is causing the damage in the first and last photos. I can see some kind of grub? in the last photo. Yuck.
Name: Leon
Indiana (Zone 5a)
Light is the shadow of God!
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: United States of America Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
Garden Ideas: Master Level Native Plants and Wildflowers Peonies Hummingbirder Dog Lover Lilies
Image
TBGDN
Nov 23, 2013 12:53 PM CST
Lynn,

The first varmint is a bag worm feeding on evergreen needles. They can infest a tree, shrub, or other large plant where the eggs over-winter. Here is a good link which explains better that I can: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef440.asp This site covers them pretty well since it is by by M.F. Potter and L.H. Townsend, Extension Entomologists, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. I like to spray at least once in early spring to eradicate hatching eggs. Then I spot spray whenever I see one.

The last one is an iris borer which begins its life cycle above ground as an egg from the iris borer moth. They also hatch in early spring and eat their way into the leaves and downward into the rhizome like in the picture. They can do a lot of damage if left to multiply uncontrolled. Here are some additional pictures; maybe they will show a little better detail. Hope this is useful. Smiling
Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/7d6c51 Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/3c84aa Thumb of 2013-11-23/TBGDN/494c3f


Lux Umbra Dei
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Nov 23, 2013 1:22 PM CST
Thank you so much Leon for the extra explanations and photos. Very helpful. Thumbs up

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