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Another newbie question!

Hi all,
I've got some decorative bark to use as mulch (my soil is poor and gets very dried out in summer). Two questions: Is it ok to mulch the garden with it now, or should I wait until spring? And I've read that you shouldn't have mulch touching the woody stems of shrubs/trees as they may rot - is this correct? Thank you! :)


  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,731
    Yes, you can mulch your borders at any time, as long as the soil is moist beneath, but not frozen.  If your soil is really dry it might be better to add some organic matter to your soil first before topping it with bark.  Yes, keep the bark away from the woody stems of shrubs and trees, by a couple of inches.  I've never had problems with bark being close to non woody stems.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    I've never had problems with bark too close to stems. It's windy where I live so keeping it from stems and trunks would be impossible. 
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • Thanks, @Plantminded and @Uff. There do seem to be very different views on this. Glad I can mulch now - it's been pouring with rain endlessly in Devon so soil is very wet. :)
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,731
    I think it's a problem with woody stems if you apply a really deep mulch. Just beware that the blackbirds will enjoy playing with your bark, I don't use it close to paving or paths for that reason!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • @Plantminded Ah, that's helpful - I wasn't planning on doing a deep mulch, as I don't have a lot of bark! And will be interesting re blackbirds - I do get a lot of them! :)
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,731
    I don't let that annoy me too much @susiebower as the birds are also removing unwanted visitors to my garden!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • @Plantminded - absolutely - for me, the birds are really important!
  • WoodgreenWoodgreen Posts: 1,273
    I remember watching a programme (or a video perhaps, possibly one of 'The Middle-sized Garden' ones) featuring a garden with large herbaceous borders, really splendid examples.
    I was taken aback to hear the owners say that they mulch a foot deep each year! I still can't quite understand how that doesn't cause the crowns of the plants to rot or die off, but there it was, in their own words.
    I can only assume they received little rainfall, and the mulch kept the crowns dry or something.
    And their mulch must break down to almost nothing or surely a border would become a hill!

  • @Woodgreen Wow! That must have been back-breaking! :smiley:
  • Ooh, @Woodgreen - are there videos or pix on here of readers' gardens by any chance? And how do I find them if so? 
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