What kind of mulch do you suggest?

i was wondering what kind of mulch people here use. i am considerin
putting coloured cedar bark (black) on the areas of our flowerbeds tha i redid. i have never added mulch to the beds before. i have surfed th net and googled and a lot of places say that some cedar and pine mulch can affect your flowering shrubs, some of the flowers, as well as takin nitrogen out of the soil. if anyone can help me on this i would greatly appreciate any input. thanks everyone for taking the time to answer. cyaaa, sockiescat
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I drive about 3 miles to a county trash transfer station. They have 1 huge pile of mulch and depending in what area of the pile I dig, it's different colors and textures. A hundred feed away is an equally huge compost pile, and again, depending on where I get it, it can be fine or course, but always great. The cost of either by the bag or by the truck load - 0 nada nothing zip Maybe you trash service has something similar, then all you do is add fertilizer as needed.
Tom J
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sockiescat wrote:

I use the leaves from my ash, oak, zelkova, and liquidambar trees. It takes only a thin layer to keep the soil cool and moist in the summer and to retard (but not completely prevent) weeds. I keep adding to this each fall. In areas where the wind sometimes scours away the mulch, I add small branches that have fallen out of the trees; these help to hold the leaves in place.
For potted plants in large containers, I use a decorative white rock.
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sockiescat wrote:

Mulch will only take out nitrogen if it is not fully composted. Bark has
the advantage of looking nicer and breaking down slower. It can be a problem scattering over your beds and lawn, and I don't think it is as effective in giving nutrients to the surrounding plants, as say a leaf mulch.
Sherwin D.

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Which is why we mistakenly nitrolize mulch. Using a mulch over beds as David has done would not "rob" nitrogen. Some of us use high quality finished compost at the soil interface and then top with a layer of 1"-3" shredded and partially composted "mulch"(landscape waste). I call it the forest floor concept. Kicking up hte biology with some humates and liquid organics produces a very rich microbially active soil. The nitrogen fixing is a natural part of this process and nothing is robbed.
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sockiescat wrote:

Personally, I can't see the wisdom of using artificially colored bark. Why not use artificial plants, too?
True, the shredded cedar bark I use in the visible areas of some of my beds isn't exactly the most natural looking thing, either, but that's where I've chosen to draw the line: Bark mulch with no artificial coloring.
In my tomato garden I use red plastic sheet mulch. But it's there for function, not to be pretty.
There are also places that I use leaf mould. (I always have plenty.) And there are other places that I use steer manure. I make my own compost as well, but I've been generally using it as a soil amendment in areas where I'm building new beds, or refurbishing old beds.
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Hi Warren, Just curious where you get your steer manure. It's almost impossible to find here in the north Chicago suburbs, ever since Tex-Mex went out of business.
Sherwin D.
Warren wrote:

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sherwindu wrote:

Here in Oregon, it's everywhere. (Whoops. Just stepped in some.)
But seriously, it's at Home Depot, Lowes, Fred Meyers, Wilco... and those are just the places I've bought it at. I would be surprised to find a garden center that doesn't have any. Last year,
If you want, I could box up a couple of bags and FedEx it to you. It usually comes in plastic bags, but since they have small vent holes and most stores have it stacked outside, it's going to be pretty heavy this time of the year! So even if those 2-cubic foot bags are still just 98-cents, I think the shipping charge would be pretty high.
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--------------197DFB6736FC82057767D1D6 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Warren,
We have Home Depot, etc., here in the North Suburbs of Chicago, but I have never
seen 'Steer Manure', except for one nursery who carried the Tex-Mex product. I don't know what you have in Oregon, but this stuff came from Texas where the steers were allowed to roam on free range. It had an analysis of 5-5-5, I believe. Some of what I see here is only 1-1-1. There is supposed to be another company call Botex (not sure of spelling), but that also is nowheres to be found around here.
Sherwin

--------------197DFB6736FC82057767D1D6 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> Warren, <p>We have Home Depot, etc., here in the North Suburbs of Chicago, butI have never <br>seen 'Steer Manure', except for one nursery who carried the Tex-Mexproduct.&nbsp; I <br>don't know what you have in Oregon, but this stuff came from Texaswhere the steers were allowed to roam on free range.&nbsp; It had an analysis of 5-5-5, I believe. <br>Some of what I see here is only 1-1-1.&nbsp; There is supposed to beanother company <br>call Botex (not sure of spelling), but that also is nowheres to befound around here. <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Sherwin <br>&nbsp; <blockquote TYPE=CITE><a href="http://www.holzemville.com/taxes /"></a>&nbsp;</blockquote> </html>
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sherwindu wrote:

I took a trip to my local Home Depot today. The composted steer manure, as well as the composted chicken manure are in bags carrying the MiricleGro brand name. I didn't really feel like getting my hands dirty to see if there was any information of the source.
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sherwindu Warren,
We have Home Depot, etc., here in the North Suburbs of Chicago, but have never
seen 'Steer Manure', except for one nursery who carried the Tex-Me product. I don't know what you have in Oregon, but this stuff came from Texa where the steers were allowed to roam on free range. It had an analysis o 5-5-5, I believe. Some of what I see here is only 1-1-1. There is supposed to be anothe company call Botex (not sure of spelling), but that also is nowheres to b found around here.
Sherwin
thanks everyone for your responses i am going to add mulch to thes beds like i said i have never done these two main flowerbeds before why i dont know i have done a few other areas using cedar mulch where have mostly flowers but not these two beds i was always afraid to lol. guess the main reason i hesitated last fall was because some sites o the net said that cedar and some other mulches affect flowering shrub thats my main concern we used to have upright junipers and cedars. whe we took those out we put in wisteria vines, silver lace vine, weigelia burning bush, spirea, harlequin euonymous, potentilla and a few othe flowering shrubs. i guess i worry to much. thanks again for all your help i know with the insight u have all bee kind enough to give me i will make the right decisions. thanks again sockiescat
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I really like sterile steer manure as a mulch because it looks like rich black soil but it does suppress weeds quite nicely. Although the nitrogen & other nutrient levels are very low any sterilized fully composted manure, when used as a topcoating & kept at least a little moist, it excites microbial activity in the soil which is the real source of the nutrients plants actually use, & that's healthier than artificially structured fertilizers some of which interfer with rather than enhance microorganism activity.
-paghat the ratgirl

know i have done a few other areas using cedar mulch where ihave mostly flowers but not these two beds i was always afraid to lol. iguess the main reason i hesitated last fall was because some sites onthe net said that cedar and some other mulches affect flowering shrubsthats my main concern we used to have upright junipers and cedars. whenwe took those out we put in wisteria vines, silver lace vine, weigelia,burning bush, spirea, harlequin euonymous, potentilla and a few otherflowering shrubs. i guess i worry to much.

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On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 21:21:06 +0000

Shredded Flax. It's cheap, decorative, stays in place, is neutral and adds good soil structure when decomposed.
Colored bark is pretty garish, might look better with plastic flowers. :) Also, won't black raise the soil temperature?
I have one bed that I use pine bark, but it's a real pain with the strimmer. I also do use some leaf mould, which is arguably the best solution, but I find it's a little less neat looking than I like around trees.
-E
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For some reason, colored mulch gets uglier about every 30 minutes, and it seems to have a half-life roughly equal to plutonium's. There are so many better options. Avoid bark chunks, too. Depending on the prevailing winds, it sometimes blows right out of the beds when it's dry. You'll be forever picking up the chunks and tossing them back into the beds. Shredded bark tends to mat down and stay put.
Cedar bark can look a bit too perfect when it's new, but it weathers to a duller color in a matter of weeks, and looks pretty much neutral. Blends with any colors it's near. Leaves from your own trees can work well, too, although they stay put better if you run the mower over them to chop them a bit. If you have a bag attachment for you mower, you can get a nice blend of leaves & grass to use as mulch. But, avoid using leaves if you have any trees with persistent disease problems. Those leaves should be bagged and discarded.
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I get natural color shredded cyprus. it doesnt break down as fast as others and looks good much longer. Ingrid

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