Insects in Mulch - Knowledgebase Question

Orlando, FL
Question by drmacdon
January 20, 1998
We are using sycamore leaves for mulch under the papaya & banana trees to protect those plants from the cold. Should we remove the leaves & put them back when needed? The only reason I ask is, could that be home for unwanted pests?


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Answer from NGA
January 20, 1998

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Mulch should be renewed every year. Put the old mulch in your compost pile and use fresh leaves for mulch around your trees. It is true that mulch might harbor insects, but often these aren't pest insects. In general, if you find a insect damage, have an experienced gardener or extension agent help you determine if the damage is truly harmful (plants can stand quite a bit of damage before it affects their performance), and identify the critter. We can then help with solutions. Enjoy your new gardening experiences!

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