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Stuck between two mulches

 
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Hi everybody

I can get two types of chopped up wood comercially and use it for mulch: pine (wood only, no bark, no needles), and a local chilean oak (wood and bark).

Which one should I choose?

Target: plant a food forest in a mediterranean climate (chile) whith less than 100mm of rain in recent years. Poor soil, mainly a weathering granite, when lucky I have 5cms of topsoil.

Thanks in advance!
 
pollinator
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Pine will rot down a lot faster. I don't know if will lower pH or not. I know pine needles will but not sure about the wood. If the pine breaking down into soil isn't going to cause you pH issues, I would say lay that down and then put the oak on top of it to keep the pine moist so it rots down quicker and adds to your thin soil. Maybe grow plenty of chop and drop plants high in nitrogen and/or nitrogen fixers as edibles as well to balance out the carbon you'd be adding.
 
pioneer
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Any time I have multiple types of organic matter available, I mix it together and dump it all on.
 
gardener
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I would do as Trace suggested Lukas, get all you can of both and blend them together then spread it out (Check out my new thread on wood chip mulch wood chip mulch).

Redhawk
 
Lukas Rohrbach
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Great, I ll jst buy whatever and mix it up!

I am planning to age the chips, or sort of pre-compost them for a couple of months together with horse manure. But according to the impressive mulch thread, not even that is necessary right?
 
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Lukas Rohrbach wrote:Great, I ll jst buy whatever and mix it up!



You might also want to check your local county or city offices if they have free woodchips. Mine has a huge hill of it, where tree companies dump woodchips, and I - and a few other local gardeners - get as much as we want, at no cost.
(The only downside is I have to shovel it myself - but I typically try to get a three or four trailer loads a year unless I'm too busy).

I am planning to age the chips, or sort of pre-compost them for a couple of months together with horse manure. But according to the impressive mulch thread, not even that is necessary right?


Correct, it can age wherever you want to put it - including directly on your garden beds - it won't hurt plants unless you push it directly up against the stems of the plants (even just 1/2" away is fine).
You can put your horse manure on top of, or underneath, the woodchips, or mixed in with the woodchips.

What you don't want to do is intentionally mix the woodchips into the soil - a tiny amount by accident doesn't hurt, but you don't want the woodchips to absorb all the oxygen that the plant roots need. i.e. you don't necessarily want to plant your plants in woodchips, but in dirt.
The horse manure can be mixed into the soil if you like, it won't hurt that.

Even without the horse manure, woodchips are amazing and will benefit your plants short-term by retaining and releasing water and keeping the soil cooler and keeping weeds down, and long-term by breaking down into nutrients that improve the soil.
In my area, the woodchips are partly gone after a year, and nearly completely gone after two. More moisture speeds it up.
 
gardener & author
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Sounds great! But do some asking and make sure the horses were not eating hay grown with the aminopyralid class of herbicides. Those herbicides persist through the digestive system of animal and the composting process, and if then mixed into the soil will make it difficult to grow anything other than grass and cereal grains. If you can't be sure, it's probably better to avoid horse manure (because since horses aren't producing food, people might tend to be less careful with their food purity). Wood chip mulch is very helpful to the soil even without horse manure.
 
Lukas Rohrbach
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Rebecca Norman wrote:aminopyralid class of herbicides.



Hi Rebecca, thanks for the heads up regarding herbicides! What would you suggest should I ask to find that out? I am afraid people won't have an idea ...
 
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Location: Eastern Washington
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To find out what herbicides are being used, a strategy is to ask around for who sells hay in the area. Then ask them for their expert opinions about which herbicides are effective for local weeds. Sometimes the chemical dealers can tell you all about what works, is affordable, and popular.
Once you know the trade names, the chemistry is all available online.
 
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