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.
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.
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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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.
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
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
visit my temperate gardening website:
On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 14:28:39 -0700, email@example.com
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
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