We have leaves mixed in with our bark chips (normal fall leaves that
we're just cleaning up in spring).
Is it possible to easily separate the two (leaves and bark chips) so
we can put the bark chips back down, or, do we just rake it all up and
get new bark chips? I don't mind the financial expense, bark chips
don't cost that much, but, it seems like a waste to bag it all up.
On 29 Mar 2005 12:49:48 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Long story made short: We're reclaiming land that was taken over by
wrist-thick wisteria vines. The soil is in _lovely_ condition,
however, there's only patchy grass (and much of it is probably crab
grass), because the rest was under thick fallen leaf cover. The vines
were spreading under the leaf cover where we couldn't see them. We
only live on 60x100, so, I think it's still possible to reclaim all
the land from the vines, but, to be sure we have all the runners,
we're stripping the property down to bare dirt/grass.
The bark chips are in my regular planting circles around the house,
and the leaves mixed into them over the winter.
In any case, we couldn't mow the leaves with the bark chips mixed in.
They'd destroy the mower. So, once again, is there a way to separate
the leaves from the bark chips -- shaking them out in my hands isn't
working so well.
Gwen, you've certainly got a fight on your hands and I wish you well
reclaiming your yard.!!
My suggestion would be to take a spading fork to the bark chips and "
fluff", turning the chips over, not worrying too much about the leaves.
Bury what you can and let decomposition help out over the gardening season.
IF you still have too many leaves, add some fresh bark on top.
Wherever I use Bark Chips, I'm careful to add a high nitrogen fertilizer in
the early spring and again when the weather warms up.... decomposing bark
can sequester nitrogen from the soil, and lack of nitrogen can slow the
composting at the soil surface.
Sometimes its ok to pick the important battles and let the minor
irritations heal themselves.
How about a leaf rake?
Don't press down. In fact, take a little of it's weight off the end. Just
lightly rake over the surface. The light leaves will generally ball-up, and
keep coming with the rake, while the bark chips will drop down, and go under
the rake. Sure, you'll pull a few pieces of bark, but once you get the
technique down, it won't be much.
If you want even more separation, rake them onto a tarp, and then shake the
tarp so the heavier bark drops to the bottom.
Afterwards, fluff-up the bark that's left behind, and add any additional
that you're able to separate. Then, if you need to, replenish with some
As for the leaves, don't get rid of them. You can run them over with a
mower, or run them through a shredder. Or you can even just pile them up out
of the way. You'll have a rich soil amendment for next year.
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