Basic mulching questions.

I use red colored bark mulch. When mulching around trees, do I need to use landscaping fabric under the mulch????
When mulching a flowerbed, do I need to use landscaping fabric? Do I lay down the mulch (and fabric if needed) before or after a plant flowers?
Thanks for you help in these matters!
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wrote:

? Why "red" colored?
When mulching around trees, do I need to

IMHO if you use a thick enough layer of mulch, you shouldn't need landscaping fabric underneath. I don't have direct experience around trees, so would defer to others...

No. Why would you? Defeats the purpose. See below.
Do I lay down the mulch (and fabric if needed) before or after a plant flowers?
Doesn't matter. The plant just goes along and does its thing. You're providing a pleasant environment. The function of the mulch is to keep down weeds and keep the soil from drying out (a big factor in dry So. Calif). Where are you, BTW?
As the mulch decays, it will add to the soil. (Some opine that the act of decaying requires taking "energy" [inexact, unscientific term!] from the soil. I never considered that enough of a minus, if true, compared to the many plus aspects of mulch.
There is a lot of info on the Web, for example:
http://www.gardenguides.com/TipsandTechniques/mulch/mulch-noframe.htm
BTW: There's a great little free utility called TinyUrl which takes these long URLs and makes them short. Can download from <TinyUrl.com> I keep it on my desktop.

HTH
--
Aspasia

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If using mulch, landscape fabric shouldn't be necessary. If you're talking about the woven product, the stuff ain't what it's cracked up to be as far as weed control. All it takes is a weed seed coming into contact with the soil in the fabric's spaces. Then, if you don't yank the weed(s) out soon enough, the root won't pull through the fabric opening, making it harder to pull than if nothing was there. Just an unnecessary expense, IMHO. An organic mulch should be all you need -- chunky or shredded bark, cocoa bean & rice hull mix. Marble stones and pavers can keep the soil over the roots too hot. And even tho you see concrete over tree roots all about town, it also holds too much heat and impedes water flow, further stressing the tree.
Suzy O
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