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manure or bark mulch?

puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 200
Happy holidays everyone!

2023 will be my year of getting on top of weeds (I hope). I've got a young peach tree in my front garden that's doing really well, but I just can't control the weeds growing around it. Doesn't matter how many times I try to pull them out, they come back with a vengeance.

I'll be ordering some well-rotted manure soon and I'd like to apply a thick layer of manure around both for weed control and because the front garden soil is rubbish. The weeds growing are primarily clover (out of control) and dandelions (indestructible), but we get a whole host of other unwanted guests too.

I'm worried that the manure will just encourage the weeds. The alternative is to apply bark, but I'd like to enrich the soil so the tree continues growing well. Does anyone have any advice please?


  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 200
    edited December 2022
    Oh, forgot to ask in my OP: can I put down cardboard for weed suppression with manure to improve the soil on top? Or will that cause problems?

    pps I know clover is really cool, but I don't want it just under my young tree :p
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,240
    For me, try to remove the dandelions, then cover the rest with the cardboard, followed by as much of the other two as you can get/afford.  With the options you have, that's exactly what I'd do.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    Dandelions will always find a way back @puschkinia , so you could 'spot kill' those with a weedkiller, if they're in growth. Do it on a calm day, and be careful not to get it on other valuable planting. Then wait until they've died right back and proceed. Persistent perennial weeds are often better treated that way, especially if you're struggling to keep them away.
    Personally, I'd not put manure over card though. I'd just use the manure to boost the soil. Bark over card is a better method for the clover, although I'd rather pull that out if it wasn't wanted, then use the manure to feed the soil. 
    Covering with card/bark is ideal for empty spaces, to prevent weeds, although they can still seed in from elsewhere. Manure would be a bit wasted when you have to wait for the card to break down first IMO  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 1,094
    I agree .... the card really isn't needed in your situation.

    I've got a number of young trees in grassland here. Most are only 2-3 years old.
    I've got a wide circle around each, and go round it with a lawn edger probably about once a month in the growing season. This manages most of the clover and grass that tries to creep in. Any that has grown in the circle is easily pulled out before it's got a hold. It also looks neater. I've mulched the tree with homemade compost, and wood chip on top to stop the annual weeds that are bound to be in my compost.
    Has worked Ok so far, and keeps the moisture in when I water.

    Good luck with your tree ... I'd love to grow peaches, but not really an option here.

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    I wouldn’t  use manure to mulch a tree, I’d use the wood chip as deep and wide as you can afford 3-6” as wide as 3ft.

    You should find the few weeds that accumulate are not well rooted and easy to scoop out.

    Over time as weed eventually come through stronger, I’d pick a time to remove most of the wood chip and weed it, then replace the wood chip.

    I’d avoid cardboard as you don’t want to create a drier spot around the tree roots, usually.

  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 200
    thanks so much for all the input everyone. seems advice is mixed! definitely won't use the cardboard, but I think I'll try what @Bee witched does as it seems the best of both worlds: manure with some bark on top :) Thanks so much. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas day
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    Definitely the manure to benefit a fruit tree. Getting the growing conditions right for them long term is always the right way @puschkinia :)
    Bark is a great mulch, especially to conserve water in dry areas in spring/summer, but adds little in the way of extra help for fruiting shrubs/trees. Ideal for any other woody planting - hedges and 'ordinary' shrubs and trees. Cardboard isn't a problem as it rots down, and can also retain moisture until it does, but it won't be much use in the situation you have just now. Great for an untended area until it's cultivated   :)
    Unfortunately, weeds are something that always need kept on top of around any fruiting plant, whether it's a peach like you have, or strawberries and gooseberries. They just take nutrition and water away from the plant you want to thrive   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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