Decorative bark

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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 08:58:35 -0700, Dark Energy wrote:

I don't like deco bark for mulch. It doesn't add anything to the structure of the soil. I prefer shredded mulch as it does break down and can be taken down into the soil by macro biota and used by the plants down the line. I replace my mulch every year...rather, not replace, but refresh with new stuff. For my C. TX location I find shredded Christmas trees (which are given freely by the city of Austin) to be most beneficial. I pile it up for a few months and let it decompose a little, turn it and keep it spongy and then apply it after we get our spring rians.
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wrote:

You read the blast by another poster against using city mulch, aka shredded wood?
Quoted below: ===============

Really, like what kind of fungus?
=========== Your reaction?
Dark Energy
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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 21:46:21 -0700, Dark Energy wrote:

Yes, I read the silly remark about harbor whatever in the product. Christmas trees are safe and the only fungus I ever saw in their piles was actinoycetes, which is what you want to see in compost OR mulch of any brand. I've been using city mulch for over a dozen years and maybe dozens of years and never once had a problem.
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Next year's perennials???
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wrote:

Oops, Freudian slip, but yeah, the way I grow them, ...
J.
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bark chips beat shredded wood, which can harbor artillery fungus, which is reputed to be kind of a disaster if it gets hold of your property.
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wrote:

Really, like what kind of fungus?
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Artillery Fungus or Shotgun Fungus. They are in the genus Sphaerobolus. These fungi colonize dung and other organic matter such as wood mulch.
It grows in shredded wood and ejects black tar-like spore cases called peridioles like projectiles up to 18 feet and they stick to anything they strike with what biologists call "natures super glue". The peridioles are projected toward the light or light colored objects. They are typically projected toward white objects like homes, cars, and fences. If wood chips are used near a home, garage or fence, the projectiles will stick to these nearby objects and are virtually impossible to remove without damaging what they adhere to. It forms an unsightly mess. The local landscapers put a top dressing of new wood chips down every year. If they stop, the artillery fungus will take over. Typically insurance companies don't cover the "mold" damage.
The best way to avoid these fungi is to either top off with new wood chips every year or use bark mulch. Fungicides are not recommended.
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wrote:

Double-icky!
But bark is OK, and manure mixed in the earth is OK?
J.
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wrote:

Hmmm, I never had this happen in the 30 years I've been gardening, nor have I heard of it. I have been using shredded native trees for most my life. I gardened on Long Island for a very long time where the dew was soaking wet in the morning, now I live in central Texas and haven't had this experience. It is interesting, though.
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In my area this fungus likes the sorts of "garden" spots as occur on parking lot islands and close to walls alongside city sidewalks. Ultra-hardy broadleaf evergreen viburnums or strawberry bush get black tarry spots all over them, "spit up" from the ground where wood mulch is used and becomes rife with exploding spoors. It sometimes grows in tandem with powdery mildew in these harsh locations, especially if there's eunonymous, so the leaves look like they're coated with grey dust and stippled with coal tar, especially the lower leaves but it'll spread up and up.
It makes the shrubs look like hell and if you rub up against any of the plants while waiting at a bus stop or hiding from the law, you'll get yucky grimy gunk all over you.
Fortunately I've never seen it in any cared for location even with lots of shredded bark, but if I ever do have to deal with it at any job, I will put a layer of steer manure on top of the bark to encourage more rapid decay creating superb topsoil. I regard "beauty bark" as a misnomer even at its best and should be called "ugly bark." But well composted steer manure also retards weeds while giving the APPEARANCE of being a rich humousy soil. I just like that look better.
-paghat the ratgirl
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On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 14:28:39 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@paghat.com (paghat) wrote:

Well this is a whole other story. Plants in stress can succomb to anything. I tend to agree with you when you say the appearance of steer manure is that of rich, humousy soil. It's so dry around here that I haven't seen many fungal problems in gardens. I hope I didn't jinx myself!
v
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snipped-for-privacy@paghat.com (paghat) wrote:

Then it should be called Decorative Manure or Beauty Manure.
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Beauty Poop.
-paggers
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