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Cypress mulch in the orchard

 
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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Hi permie folks,

Long time reader, first time poster. I'm planting orchard trees at work next week and I have a fair amount of oak/beech chips to use for mulch but I don't think I'll have enough to make it all the way. I've got a huge pile of cypress chips too, but I'm not sure if I can use those. Conifers make me think of acidity, which I don't need any more of here in GA, and allelopathy. Has anyone mulched fruit trees with cypress? Success? Failure? I've read a fair amount online but no two sources tell me the same thing.

Thanks for your sage advice.

Steve
 
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Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Hau,Stephen, congratulations on your first post!

I will make the presumption that you are talking about Bald Cypress wood chips, since you are in the south like me.

I recommend that you get some litmus papers and then take a sample of the cypress wood chips, put these in a jar and fill with pure water (not tap water) shake and let soak for a few days then open the jar and dip a piece of litmus paper in to get the pH of the liquid.
This will tell you the acidity of the liquid, which will let you know how suitable the chips are for your intended purpose.

Usually I find that it is the bark of the Bald Cypress that contains the most acidity and even that is high enough to make drastic changes to soil pH.

I have also noted that the bark is what can create Allopathic reactions to seedling growth.
Trees that are already well developed usually don't exhibit a lot of Allopathic sensitivity to cypress bark.

I would recommend blending all three types of wood chips before laying them down as a mulch. This way you are diluting the cypress chips in a manner of speaking.
 
Posts: 323
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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The ph can change pending on when the tree was cut and mulched. High sap vs. Low sap.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 6280
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Exactly Chad , that's why, when dealing with the timing of cutting as an unknown it is a good idea to check the pH of the leachate of the wood chips.
 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely do a litmus test.

I've got trees ranging anywhere from 2-5 yrs old so I think I'll skip the cypress for now. I've got enough old leaves, composted stable bedding, spoiled hay and compost to stretch my beech/oak chips and make it work.
 
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