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Adding compost to wood-mulched orchard?  RSS feed

 
Charlie Fairchild
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I have a small orchard that has been mulched with 4-6 inches of wood chips. My question is when I want to add compost, do I spread it on top of the wood chips or somehow try to work them into the mulch? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

-Charlie
 
Michael Cox
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Spread it on top. Rain will wash the nutrients through to the soil below.
 
Chris McLeod
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Hi! Definitely add the compost on top and it will work its way into the soil.

What sort of compost are you thinking of adding?

I add a 50/50 mix of woody mulch and mushroom compost when I want to feed the fruit trees. Either on their own will work fine although woody mulch is slower to break down into soil.
 
Michael Cox
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Personally when I have good compost I save it for intensive annual vegetables and my hungry perennials (rhubarb, globe artichokes etc... Why not try planting some nitrogen fixing cover crops in your wood chips, along with a few accumulators?

Woodchips planted with clover and comfrey should work a treat - the comfrey deep mines for trace minerals and the clover n-fixes. When the time comes to top up the chips just slash it all down to ground level and mulch right over the top.

That said, if you do want to put compost on the spot top dressing on the woodchips is fine. The nutrients will wash on through (although some of the nitrogen will probably be taken up by the chips themselves and be released slowly as they break down).
 
Michael Cox
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I just found myself replying to a thread I had already replied to, and thinking "that guy is spot on"...
 
Charlie Fairchild
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Thanks for the feedback. I do have comfrey and some n-fixers mixed throughout the orchard. I got the idea of adding compost (in the fall once the greenery has turned brown and leaves have fallen) from Michael Phillips' book, The Holistic Orchard. The thought is this will help cut back on the propagation of harmful bacteria and fungi that my try to take hold on the apple leaves.

And Michael, your response does seem "spot on".
 
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