Good cultural care helps to ensure your fruit trees grow well, resist pests and diseases and bear plentiful fruit. In order to prevent plants from rotting, you should use light and airy materials for your mulch. Mulching has a multitude of important functions, such as maintaining soil moisture, reducing the sudden changes in temperature that affect the roots, favoring microbial activity and other highly beneficial living beings such as earthworms, increasing the fertility of the earth, etc. A mulch needs to be put on at a depth of 4 and ½ to 6 inches for maximum moisture retention. So unless you are 100% certain what trees are in your wood mulch, you might inadvertently kill your tomatoes. Moisture retention: Most plants need constant moisture for optimal growth. In short, you have to wait until after a hard frost in the fall to apply winter mulch and after the last frost in spring to apply summer mulch. They work well for acid-loving fruit trees. Black mulch comes in three main varieties: wood, rubber and plastic. Fruit Tree Growing Pros ( Teo’s viewpoint ) Most people know I have a special fondness for all things trees, and planting fruit trees is even better. Mulch creates a barrier to oxygen and water: Plastic mulch or weed barriers prevent oxygen and water from penetrating the soil and should not be used on large areas unless they are porous. It basically starts as a horse manure compost pile, and the mushrooms break it down into what you buy. Why organic grown food is not good enough? List of the Pros of Cedar Mulch. List of the Pros of Wood Chip Mulch. Black Walnut Toxicity to Plants, Humans, and Horses Furthermore, if applied too early in the spring, mulch can inhibit soil warming and delay root growth. Less Water: Mulch reduces water evaporation, so you spend less time and money watering! Dwarf fruit trees are ideal for small spaces. . Mulch has more recurring maintenance as it will decompose and require replacing every year or two. Great for mulching, or adding directly to soil, as a conditioner. Using Cypress Garden Mulch. Alternative To Mulching Grass is full of healthy nutrients that are good for your soil and that is one of the reasons people mulch is that the good nutrients will get absorbed back into the soil. Too deep of a mulch layer can lead to excessive moisture and root rot. Pine needles are relatively long-lasting, resist compaction well and are generally considered fairly attractive. Read to learn the pros and cons of using pine needles as mulch. In food forest, you might want to use mulch that will decompose for a long time (like wood chips). The decomposed materials also improve the structure of the soil. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies. Weed suppression: While healthy plant growth limits some weed growth, a layer of mulch suppresses even more unwanted weed growth in your gardens and planting beds. Cedar mulch lasts a long time, most vegetable beds last months, if … The practice of mulching is essential in areas where conditions are hot and dry. On a day that is dry and hot, much of the surface water in the soil can evaporate, leaving nothing left to consume. Sawdust is woody material that needs nitrogen to decompose. And by preventing moisture from evaporating, mulch reduces the need for watering. MULCHING. Cedar mulch is expensive; this means that it may not be profitable for a vegetable garden. Teo’s viewpoint: Rock is not always the first thing that comes to a gardener’s mind when he or she thinks about mulch. Extend it to one foot past the drip line. Mulch and pine straw are significantly different from each other. What Is a Good Organic Mulch to Use in Flower Beds? Rock Mulch Pros vs. Bark. Remember to choose your mulching based on your plants and how long you want to protect them. Do you put up a real tree for Christmas, or an artificial one? This is according to a study by Kansas State University. It allows plants to grow longer than they would and helps protects plants’ roots from harsh winter temperatures. Spread a thick mulch layer (of about 3 inches). Episode 31: Mulching Fruit Trees - The Pros and Cons Mulching fruit trees is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to give your fruit trees a boost. However, don’t be tempted to go overboard. However, putting cypress mulch in gardens has a very real dark side. Skip to main content. DENVER – Beyond eggnog, fruit-cake and decorating with white or multi-colored lights, there’s an age-old holiday debate brewing. We’re going to make that decision easier for you to decide by laying out the reasons to grow fruit trees as well as any problems with growing fruit trees in the landscape. The Purpose of Garden Mulch. Some vegetable growers have said that red mulch works wonders on certain fruits, and some say black mulch is the best at warming up the soil in winter. You should begin by mulching seedlings at 1-2 inches, and then move up to 3 or more when the plant has developed. Down below we have enlisted the pros and cons of each to help you best decide what would be the right fit for your home and garden. Before applying mulch under a fruit tree, pull out any weeds to prevent future problems with weeds. More Nutrients: As mulch breaks down, it adds nutrients that plants need to thrive. When there are leftover items from fencing and similar construction projects, untreated cedar is an excellent gardening resource to use. Where we live there are black walnut trees everywhere. Although they are often quite attractive and prized for their permanence, inorganic mulches like crushed stone and lava rocks are generally not well-suited for use under fruit trees, as they can capture and reflect excessive heat around them. Cons: It smells like crazy a day or two after spreading (because of the nitrogen content). Eliminates the need to weed Mulch covers the soil and blocks new weeds from sprouting. Shrubs and other plantings stand out so much more when framed by a fresh, even layer of pine straw, wood mulch, or stones. Mulching performs a variety of functions in the garden: • Reduces moisture loss from the soil surface, thus aiding plant growth, and reducing the need to water. The cost for mulch installation depends on the type and quantity of mulch used, however on average prices can range from $30 – $45 per yard, or $3 – $5 per bag. These nutrients feed the plants and organisms living in the planting area covered with mulch. It also lessens the chance of the soil surface drying out and cracking. Some mulches can attract beneficial organisms in the soil that enhance tree health. Hay is a good mulch… Remember to water before and after you have set up the mulch. Mulch keeps soil protected and healthy – along with your plants! Mulch applied in the spring, or early summer keeps the soil cooler for longer. Mulches can be used to prevent some crops rotting (such as strawberries) by lifting them off the ground. Mulches can insulate crops from extreme temperatures – especially useful for early and late crops. Some mulches are primarily used and prized because their plentiful or free. Less water: Mulch will reduce the evaporation so that you don’t spend a lot of time and money watering. THE PROS — Mulching leaves is easier, quite frankly. And should the tree trimming service have that in the mix, my tomatoes are toast! Be sure to take these aspects into consideration as well. A fully-grown tree can reach a mature height of about 60 feet and a width of 25 feet, offering plenty of natural resources for mulching. Place the mulch around the base of the tree trunk in a ring-shaped circle. As a result, you can plant several of these miniature fruit trees in an area that you would normally only plant 1 tree. Organic mulches can rot down to provide soil nutrients and encourage beneficial soil organisms and worm activity. They grow quickly too. Soil temperature control: Mulch acts as an insulating layer for the soil so the temperature of the ground changes more slowly. The purpose of any mulch is to keep garden soil from drying out at the surface. They spread their branches in a ten-foot circle and can reach a height of 8-10 feet. Barren exposed soil is prone to runoff, erosion, and quick evaporation. To suppress weeds around the trees for an extended period, consider securing landscape fabric to the soil surface before spreading an organic mulch material over it. The trees are ground into chips or shredded. Watering woody mulches in thoroughly after spreading them helps to prevent fungal growth on the mulch surface. Cons of Organic Mulch You will need to replace organic mulches every year, although you can turn the old layer into the soil to break it up and to continue feeding the soil. Read to learn the pros and cons of using pine needles as mulch. Grass Clippings As Mulch 8 Pros And 4 Cons Share and help your friends grow Some people believe using grass clippings as mulch is a good idea and other people believe it is a bad idea I’m going to look at the pros and cons of using grass clippings as mulch so you can make an informed decision on what you choose to do. It is much cheaper than mulch. Long-lasting mulch maintenance generally incorporates occasional fluffing to relieve compaction, flipping to bring less-faded material to the surface, weed-pulling and adding a thin layer of mulch on top of existing mulch to improve its appearance and replace decomposed material. This is much more of a problem if you incorporate the sawdust directly into the soil than if you use it as a mulch, but even with … Several types of mulch can conserve soil moisture, regulate soil temperature and suppress weeds around fruit trees. A layer of mulch also helps to slow erosion by preventing water from washing soil out of the garden. Log in, improve the fertility and health of the soil, Getting your soil right part 1: Cation Exchange Capacity and base saturation. If you simply hate to blow or rake, then bag, or you use a lawnmower with a bag, piling leaves is a very time-consuming chore. Variety. Some nutrients in our fruits, vegetables, meats are down by more than 76% since 1940. Root color rot: Excessive mulch mounded around the base of a tree can cause decay of the vital tissue at the root collar. If you're trying to adhere to organic gardening, some dyed or treated mulches aren't acceptable. And stone mulch has some advantages over traditional mulch. One of the best benefits of bare root fruit trees is their adaptability. Bare root trees take to the soil sooner, need less care during their transition, and adjust to their new home sooner than container trees. — Another great reason to consider mulching is what it does to your soil. What are possible cons of mulching? But there are many reasons to landscape with stones. It should be only used in mixtures with other coarser materials. Mulching, meanwhile, is pretty similar to just mowing the lawn. Mulch can improve growth of plants and trees due to the additional layer of protection and nutrients in the soil. 1. Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. Grass clippings are appropriate for use as mulch if they come from a lawn not recently treated with herbicide, do not contain a large number of weed seeds and are applied when dry. This includes grass clippings, shredded leaves, pine needles and similar materials. Mulch is a very beneficial technique that we should not stop practicing in our garden or organic garden . However, when using this material in your garden, it brings both good and bad effects to the soil beneath the blanket of mulch.. Pros and Cons of Gardening with Mulch 1. Keeping any mulch material at least six inches away from the base of each fruit tree avoids trapping rot-causing moisture against the trunk and harboring rodents and other pests. Mulch is a material you place over the garden soil to keep sunlight away from hitting it directly and reduce moisture loss through evaporation. The mulching material absorbs some of the sun’s rays and delay the temperature increase of the soil. As a best practice, apply two to four inches of mulch on top of the soil surface. Proper mulch application is just as important as choosing the right type. As the temperatures drop in the fall and winter, a layer of mulch allows the soil to retain heat. The improved water retention will reduce the need for frequent irrigation, allowing you to space out the plant watering longer to reduce water consumption. Furthermore, if applied too early in the spring, mulch can inhibit soil warming and delay root growth. The mulch, the quiet hero of our landscape plan. Is It OK to Mulch Summer Squash With Old Straw? Better growth: Mulch doubles the rate at which the trees grow. It’s because mulching is not herbicide. Heat injury: Dark-colored mulches can absorb heat during the day and lose heat at night as surrounding air temperatures fall. Other mulches repel pests that might damage your fruit trees. This is not the case. More nutrients: As it breaks down, mulch will … Each has distinctive advantages, but also could have some major disadvantages which could be harmful to your garden, and perhaps even people. The following mulches are some of the most commonly used by gardeners, and the pros and cons associated with each type: Pine needle mulch … Adaptability. Benefits of mulching will occur at the earliest when you do this. Replacement of mulch in garden beds leads to an increase in costs. The decomposing mulch adds nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil and improves nutrient availability by creating right conditions for beneficial microbes and other soil creatures. It absorbs water from rainfall and irrigation. CONS. Because fruit trees are generally permanent plantings, a somewhat durable mulch that rarely needs attention or replenishing may be a better choice. Soil nutrients: Organic mulch materials, such as wood chips or leaves, break down over time. Cypress garden mulch is generally less expensive than many other organic mulches, and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. It can help the soil to retain more of the moisture it receives. When an organic material mulch is stored improperly, it can undergo anaerobic processes that give it a sour smell indicative of a low pH potentially harmful to plants it is used around. Everything is not rosy and rainbows when it comes to mulching with pine needles. Weed seeds: Some types of organic mulch (e.g., straw, hay, manure, and some leaf litter mold) may harbor weed seeds. An appropriate care regimen incorporates several practices, ranging from proper site preparation before planting to regular pruning, watering, fertilizing and, frequently, spreading a mulch over the tree's root zone. Pros. Mulch also slows the evaporation of moisture from the ground. Take a look at some pros and cons of pine straw and mulch: pine straw mulch; Pros for Pine straw. Besides, with all those pine trees on your property, your soils are sure to be on the acid side already. Excessive moisture: Fine-textured mulch, such as peat moss, grass clippings, and sawdust, holds a lot of moisture. Some people who put sawdust down as mulch in their garden shave noticed a decline in their plants health, leading them to believe that sawdust is toxic to plants. Some mulches insulate tree roots, keeping them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Soil temperatures: Mulch can delay the soil freezing process by retaining heat in the soil if you add it too early in the fall. It is also an effective mulch in preventing weed growth. Shredded bark, wood chips or chunks that are relatively large and certain agricultural byproducts, such as pecan hulls, can generally last for at least a year without needing replenishing. When weed seeds land on top of mulch, they aren’t able to root themselves deeply into the soil, so they are easier to remove even if they grow. How to Use Eucalyptus Mulch to Repel Insects, How to Fertilize an Old Japanese Cherry Tree, Virginia Cooperative Extension: Tree Fruit in the Home Garden, University of Missouri Extension: Mulches. Don’t cover the separation point between the stem and roots of a plant. Soil temperatures: Mulch can delay the soil freezing process by retaining heat in the soil if you add it too early in the fall. Summer mulching around fruit trees is great for water conservation and helping the ground retain the moisture. Mulch keeps the soil moist longer than uncovered dirt. Thus, it may sometimes injure succulent plant tissue. Some tree mulches can add organic matter and fertility to the soil. The tree would experience Nitrogen Drawdown often with little chance to recover between fresh clippings being place around it again. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. An appropriate care regimen incorporates several practices, ranging from proper site preparation before planting to regular pruning, watering, fertilizing and, frequently, spreading a mulch … There’s even research on it. This means that as it biodegrades, the process may draw nitrogen out of the soil and away from your plants roots, making them weaker. Cedar mulch deters pollinators; this makes it unsuitable for fruiting vegetables. One of the issues that outdoor plants must manage is moisture retention. Professional mulch installation is likely to range from $160 – $270 depending on the size of the yard and landscape design. Click here for a list of pros and cons of mulching. Better Growth: Mulch can nearly double how fast trees and plants grow, according to this study. 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