Decorative bark

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I thought I'd spread some decorative bark on the ground of the flower beds and between some bushes, where the adobe soil otherwise gets cracked and bare. It's supposed to hold down weeds and retain moisture. So, is there any downside to using it? Or, is it just good organic matter anyway?
Thanks.
J.
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My experience is limited to cedar bark, in both chip and shredded form. In dry weather, the chips blow around. Either that or the squirrels play soccer with them. And, they don't form a nice mat. The shredded bark tends to stay put. I put down a 4" layer and it lasts a couple of years. Color fades, but never looks weird. Speaking of which, do not under any circumstances buy the stupid artificially colored mulch. Nasty. Ugly. My neighbor uses it. He says "When people see it, they know I've been gardening."
Wrong. People know you think Fingerhut is an upscale shopping experience. :-)
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Try to keep chips away from wooden structures you value. How far you think? I'd go 2 or 3 feet depending on your clime. Termites and critters. Not good. For that matter the idea of foundation planting would benefit from space from the dwelling and those little plants can get big. Adobe soil means clay with little microbe life i guess.
Where do you live about?
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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Rochester, Nueva York
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Dogs on this property are called "targets".
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wrote:

This is for Long Beach, California, 90807.
Good hint on the gap to the structure, which we pretty much follow anyhow - and then have the Orkin guy come once a month and spray the boundary.
J.
(excuse me posting from multiple workstations!)
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I'd look into what you have the Orkin guy sprays for. Than I'd deprive them of habitat. I have no idea what is bothersome in your area. Here I bait boric acid and sugar for ants with a yearly dose of pennyroyal essential oil along a few spots in my basement if I see any carpenter ant sign. The latter is not toxic but it is effective smell deterrent.
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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Pine bark nuggets work well. They're typically available in three sizes, small. medium. and large. I like to use a mix of large and medium piled about six inches deep. They are heavy enough that the wind won't blow them around and wood eating insects do not eat pine bark. The only drawback is if you have poor drainage causing large puddles, then they may float away... it's best to contain them with some sort of edging regardless, same as with any mulch.
http://www.thelandscapeshop.com/Horticultural/Pine_Bark.htm
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wrote:

Pine bark nuggets work well. They're typically available in three sizes, small. medium. and large. I like to use a mix of large and medium piled about six inches deep. They are heavy enough that the wind won't blow them around and wood eating insects do not eat pine bark. The only drawback is if you have poor drainage causing large puddles, then they may float away... it's best to contain them with some sort of edging regardless, same as with any mulch.
http://www.thelandscapeshop.com/Horticultural/Pine_Bark.htm
----------
Tried that last year. Stuff definitely floats away if not dammed in some fashion. Does slow down weeds and such. Aids in moisture retention. However, breaks down much faster than cedar mulch.
A local landscaper recommends it (pine bark) vehemently as a mix with new soil for grass. He says it cuts down the need for fertilizer and keeps the soil drained. Am on 2nd year with one plot with soil immersed in pine bark, the other not, same topsoil used. He also said for established lawns, just throw the bark out in the yard liberally. Mow it with a mulching blade. Mow it once a week until the bark is absorbed, then mow as needed for lawn growth. Took 4 weeks here on an established area.
--
Dave

My vote in this primary was for the lesser
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wrote:

What's been done here over the years is, when a new bush or bed is planted, the adobe is modestly dug out, and the hole filled with some kind of bedding soil. But somehow, a year or so later, it seems like all adobe again! House could use a total relandscape, actually, I'm just patching for now.
J.
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Stuff called Deco Bark is not very beneficial in any way that I can tell. It doesn't break down well, it mats and doesn't allow water to get into the ground and gives nothing back to the soil. It is far better to use any form of shredded mulch and use a three inch layer. Several times a year fluff it up and get some air in there. I cheat by putting a much thinner layer around the drip line of any plant, including trees, or herbaceous annual/perennial plants. Easy for water to get to the soil where the roots are that way.
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wrote:

Hmmm.
Well, I've only put down a modest amount so far, we should get some rain this weekend, see how that goes, but then I think I'll check out the local OSH for mulchey replacements.
(I've tried asking questions about this or that at a couple of OSH's recently, and nobody seems to know anything about anything)
(I'm pretty much novice regarding anything larger than a sixteen inch pot)
Thanks to all.
J.
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Deco Bark accomplishes the primary functions of mulch very well, it maintains moisture and supresses weeds.

For most applications folks place mulch in hopes it does not break down quickly... why keep buying mulch when you don't have to... there are far better methods for amending soil with organic matter; add commercial humus directly or make ones own by composting to add. Compost is NOT mulch, in fact using compost as mulch is the very worst thing to do, laid on top of soil the humus portion dries out quickly, compacts, and prevents the passage of moisture and air... humus is only beneficial when worked into soil, not laid on top as mulch. Compost is a blend of organic matter that is not yet fully decayed. Once organic matter is fully composted/decayed it's called humus.
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wrote:

I guess you didn't read my entire post. Oh well. Deco bark is as expensive as shredded mulch, does nothing to add structure to soil and does not really support moisture retention. I get my shredded mulch from the city. They shred and compost tree trimmings and local brush. I also get a huge load of shredded xmas trees which makes great material for my compost pile with needles and wood in one.
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I certainly did read your entire post, and with exquiste comprehension, and your being patronizing now won't save you... you don't know the difference between mulching and composting... they are not necessarily mutually dependant. There are instances where one does want mulch to decompose relatively quickly but when one speaks of "Decorative" unless one possesses more dollars than brain cells mulch should be chosen that decompoises relatively slowly. Oh, well.
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wrote:

In my professional life I was a greenhouse grower and attended SUNY Farmingdale for horticulture. I know the diff. Shredded mulch is better in every way when compared to deco bark. I am not in a contest here with you. I get mulch free at my local recycle center. Most towns have that in Texas. I know things you don't. Let's leave it there.
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Oh, wow... I'm trembling in awe.

So, you're a cheap bastard... and here I thought you were just dumb,
Smelly shredded mixed tree limbs from utility workers clearing easements is the very best possible material for introducing pestulence into a garden. You're no horticulturist, and you certainly never attended school at LI, Noo Yawk, or you'd never ever mention TX in the same breath. Sakadawa is in Tibet... so nothing about you is truthful, Jang.
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wrote:

How come?

Not cheap either.

I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Attended SUNY Farmingdale. I studied horticulture and greenhouse management. I moved to TX when I was 37 and guess what, I retired. I did so because I do have money. More than you will ever have at once. Now I know why nobody likes you. You're jealous. Too bad. What is it, you're period?
Oh, and I haven't used pesticides, including any organic variety in well over 5 years and have no problems in the garden. Sorry to disappoint.
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wrote:

I think it's called decorative bark!
J.
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wrote:

I think I am going to buy a dozen bales this year. Four bales to serve as a kitchen scrap and carbon matter compost heap. The others I'll pull apart and run over with the lawn mower and catch it in the bag. Mix it all in with the mulch I have. The pH is so low here it's hard to keep nitrogen available...or iron. Fine for natives, but I am into a whole daylily thing now. Just what I need.
Also, if people buy some bales now, pull out two holes from the top of each bale filling it with compost and keeping it watered, they'll have perfect media for growing any vegetables like tomatoes, cantaloupes, peas, all sorts of things and at the end of the season the alfalfa is nice and soft and can be broken up bare-handed to use as mulch. When I do this hay bale gardening I put ten layers of newspaper under the bales so no weeds grow up through the bale.
This frickin knee better hurry the hell up. I an salivating and want to get outside and weed.
v
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