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Mulch Layering

 
Posts: 20
Location: Portugal
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I am currently volunteering at Osho gardens in the Algarve in Portugal. I have just rescued many small fruit trees that where found when I was clearing long grass in this newly acquired property. All the trees look like they wouldn't of survived if left in the overgrowth for another year.

If you can let us know if anything we have used as mulch will damage the fruit trees that would really be great.

1. I cleared a 1 meter circle of weeds and grass around the trees and then layered with mulch.
2. I put a layer of rotten palm tree as there is no compost here
3. I spread some nitrogen (green) from from nearby plants: leaves from the hedge row, long grass, rosemary, a weed that looks like rosemary but isn't, it has a spiked stem and rosemary like leaves but sticky, eucalyptus leaves
4. Then i added some half rotten leaves and grass that was at arms reach to the trees
5. On top i put lots of wood chips that appear to be from a pine forest. (he bought 12 cubic meters of this yesterday for 70 EUR including delivery)

If I had access to it here i would also add some compost and worm tea to get some microorganisms working.

Can you see any problems here or have any tips for me?
20160506_124500.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160506_124500.jpg]
Unknown tee before the woodchip mulch but with green mulch
20160506_124905.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160506_124905.jpg]
Tree with some rotten palm as mulch
 
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I think it will work great. If grass or weeds start coming in, pile the mulch on deeper. I think you did a great job.
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Eucalypts can be Allelopathic to other plants and trees. You might want to check to see if adding them around your found trees might be harmful to them.

 
gardener
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That really looks good. You may want to find even more mulch to extend your ring out a bit farther --- perhaps a foot or so beyond the drip line of the tree.

I see that you have a hose to water. As you keep that area watered, you'll find that your mulch layer will quickly disappear. This is good -- it means that the bacteria, fungi and soil biota (worms and such) are active. So perhaps you'll need to aggressively find a steady source for additional carbon to lay down, as your mulch layer isn't going to last very long. I'm a huge fan of wood chips and comfrey in my orchard. I think that my climate would be very similar to yours. It's good to hear that you have a source for these. Put them down thick, and spread them out wider than the drip line.

One additional thought: if your trees were severely stunted, some may still die, even with your emergency love and nurture. Sometimes things have goon too far to rescue. But if they are still alive, they might go dormant as they seek to recover. You don't want to overwater dormant plants if they are taking a break and just trying to maintain minimal plant function. Give them regular moisture, but don't soak the roots if the soil doesn't drain well. If that is the case, you'll see many of the branches die back, as well as many of the roots will sluff-off and die. At the start of next growing season, you'll see what is left of your trees -- what branches are still living, which trees will not make it, etc. You may have to make the hard decision that there isn't enough of tree left to save, and that it would be better to just plant a new, healthy tree in that same place. If so, your mulching will not have been for nothing, as the soil in that space will be much richer for it.
 
Todd Parr
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Eucalypts can be Allelopathic to other plants and trees. You might want to check to see if adding them around your found trees might be harmful to them.



Good point Bryant, I missed that.
 
Laurence Keela
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Eucalypts can be Allelopathic to other plants and trees. You might want to check to see if adding them around your found trees might be harmful to them.



Thanks for the warning, i have done some research and have opted to stop using it to be on the safe side. I only used a few leaves anyhow and should be ok. It seems the main issue will be that it will prevent any new seedlings but that is ok. Also under the loan eucalyptus tree are so many small online and pine trees that have been propagated by birds purching in the tree and seem to be ok. anyhow i wont use it any more.
 
Laurence Keela
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Marco Banks wrote:That really looks good. You may want to find even more mulch to extend your ring out a bit farther --- perhaps a foot or so beyond the drip line of the tree.

I see that you have a hose to water. As you keep that area watered, you'll find that your mulch layer will quickly disappear. This is good -- it means that the bacteria, fungi and soil biota (worms and such) are active. So perhaps you'll need to aggressively find a steady source for additional carbon to lay down, as your mulch layer isn't going to last very long. I'm a huge fan of wood chips and comfrey in my orchard. I think that my climate would be very similar to yours. It's good to hear that you have a source for these. Put them down thick, and spread them out wider than the drip line.

One additional thought: if your trees were severely stunted, some may still die, even with your emergency love and nurture. Sometimes things have goon too far to rescue. But if they are still alive, they might go dormant as they seek to recover. You don't want to overwater dormant plants if they are taking a break and just trying to maintain minimal plant function. Give them regular moisture, but don't soak the roots if the soil doesn't drain well. If that is the case, you'll see many of the branches die back, as well as many of the roots will sluff-off and die. At the start of next growing season, you'll see what is left of your trees -- what branches are still living, which trees will not make it, etc. You may have to make the hard decision that there isn't enough of tree left to save, and that it would be better to just plant a new, healthy tree in that same place. If so, your mulching will not have been for nothing, as the soil in that space will be much richer for it.



Thanks again marco, yes the final mulch went out much further on all these trees (so far more than 30 in three days - so much digging) I am just volunteering here for two weeks helping out, im going to try and get him to plant comfrey to chop and drop however the owner seems to think its ok to just use woodchips. however i think that will create a nitrogen deficiency. anyhow i have a few more days to convice him. I still have other trees to help so ill put another blog.

thanks for all this info!
 
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