Newly Mulched Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Wagontown, PA
Question by GaryJHaber
March 10, 1998
I have a question that no one seems to want to answer. When we built our house in Oct.96, we mulched the uprooted trees (pine, oak, maple & unknown) to a large pile on the back of our property. My question is can I use these mulched chippings in my gardens and flowerbeds, or should it be treated with something first??


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Answer from NGA
March 10, 1998

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The problem with using hardwood chips is that they are very high in carbon, and as this carbon begins to break down, the microorganisms responsible for this decomposition use up the existing nitrogen in the soil. This can temporarily induce a nitrogen deficiency in the plants. This is really a problem only if you incorporate the mulch into the upper layers of the soil--used as a top dressing the effect should be negligible.

However, it may be a good idea to feed mulched plants this spring with a fertilizer that contains nitrogen.

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