I have an area of garden that has been covered in bark chips. I now wish to
level and raise it slightly with a layer of top soil prior to seeding as a
Will it be OK to cover the bark chippings?
I'd get rid of them, which should be THAT difficult with the correct rake.
How big is this area?
Hint: Teenagers are always looking for work, it seems. Got any in your
neighborhood? Sometimes, high schools post odd jobs that people need done.
It takes both carbon and nitrogen to create humus, or as it's known
the finished product of compost. The bark will take too much nitrogen
out of the soil and the turf will suffer. I'd say to rake them away
and put them on the soil where garden or landscape beds are located.
And what then do you do when you have a huge sink hole where the chips
have decomposed? This is not a matter of "to each his own." This is
"fact" and "not fact." I don't have to list my credentials here, but
I don't say things arbitrarily when money is involved and turf costs
money. And what is "top soil?" Do you mean that dead as a door knob
"sandy loam" they put under sod when they build a house? It's not
topsoil. It's junk.
He also didn't define the word "slightly" in the original message.
Experienced gardeners develop a feel for how soil works, so nobody in this
discussion can really say much of anything until we know what "slightly"
If you want, but you'll need more N for the lawn.
On the other hand, it's easy enough to rake them up and compost elsewhere.
If this is next to the house, do be careful about raising the soil level --
it can provide a convenient pathway to the house for termites and similar
insects. A minimum of 12" between ground and siding is required in
most US building codes, iirc. May be different in the UK, but it's easier
to keep a good gap than deal with insect damage, imho.
As the others have pointed out, a thick layer of mulch should not be left,
but an older or thinner layer would not be bad. The best thing would be to
till it into the soil very well, and then cover with the new soil. When
your grass is established, I would use a water soluble fertilizer (Miracle
Grow) as per instructions for the first year. That will help offset any
nitrogen depletion as the mulch rots. We have very clay, very old soil.
When revamping some old beds, I have tilled in bark mulch to give humus to
the soil. When I have dug into those areas the next year, I have a layer of
rotting mulch that is really feeding the soil.
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