mulch experience?

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by junglegal, Dec 21, 2015.

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  1. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Lets talk mulch. I have used brown hardwood mulch with miserable results. Weeds galore & they stand out terribly against the dark color. I am leaning toward buying bales of pine needles & would like first hand accounts with experience.
     
  2. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Hey Bren, I use different types of mulch on different properties depending on budget and ease of access on the property. The one product I will never use is any colored mulch. Try finding out what they use to dye this stuff with, regardless of color, and no one has ever answered me. I've also shied away from the Cypress and Cypress blended products. I just don't know where the wood is being sourced from, and Florida has seen plenty of habitat loss already. What I use primarily now is the Eucalyptus mulch. I know that is a crop grown for many uses, and I feel better about that. It does cost a bit more per bag, but I like the way it holds up, and I also like the look. If I can, I use truckloads of wood chips from local tree services. Fortunately, I know quite a few of the owners of the companies down here, and I can ask them for a "clean" load. No palm fronds, not too leafy, but the leaves help to breakdown the wood chips quite nicely. These guys are usually more than happy to deliver a load. It is one more load they won't have to pay for to dump, and it is of no cost to you. This is a little more labor intensive, lots of shoveling and carting wheelbarrows, but I can be very liberal with the amount I put down because I know that it will break down fairly quickly. For instance, at my house, I packed mulch in some places about 8 inches high, knowing that it would drop down to 4 inches in several months. That way, I got to smother the weeds too. I just went lighter around the base of the plants. The results of the broken down mulch are very nice. Its like that black gold soil, loaded with organic content. I'm sure using pine needles would be very beneficial too, and also acidify the soil in the process. I guess what it comes down to is that if you are mulching to try to keep weeds down or eliminate them, you have to lay it down very thick. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Bren - I've been using the City's mulch for over 20 years - the regular stuff and not the recycled wood mulch. It is aged to an internal temperature of 150F to kill most weeds, and the price is right, $25 for 5 cu.yds. delivered to my home or haul all you want on your own for free. I usually apply about 3" of it per year.
     
  4. Native son

    Native son Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    873
    Location:
    10a
    Bren I have become the KING of free city mulch. The city crew loves me I clean up the pile when I leave. We get city wide trimmings for free I have several 7.5 gal pots and I stop by the pile load up and keep at least 4 to 6 inches going year round. My soil is very clean file (we live on fingers cut and filled on a water way with sea walls) without the mulch the irrigation just goes right thru. Long story short free city mulch really seems to be an inexpensive way to solve the weed and water issue. Happy Hauling. And Seasons greetings HoHoHo.
     
  5. Native son

    Native son Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    873
    Location:
    10a
  6. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I've layed 28 yards of this brown hardwood stuff at 3" in the last 18 mths. It breaks down really fast & weeds grow on top of it, it's why I was leaning toward the pine needles to smother them. City mulch sounds like it works well for you guys but I don't have a truck so buy bagged. I was going to have the pine bales delivered. I dont know the type of weed but its green and red and resembles a delicate circular spider web. They grow like mats on top the mulch. When you pull them, seed is everywhere. That is my greatest foe with this dark hardwood.
     
  7. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    City mulch is free except for nominal delivery charge of $25 for 5 cu.yds. Put a plastic tarp on the drive where they can dump it and start shoveling.....
     
  8. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    City mulch is tempting with the price but tomorrow I am going to pick up a bale of the pine needles at Carrolls. I'll try it in my problem spots. If it performs well, I'll do the whole yard in spring. 1 bale covers 100 feet at 3" thick. I did lay the meleucha the first go around as a soil conditioner when the top soil was originally brought in mid 2014. The brown hardwood mulch was second go around last spring. I am really happy with my soil quality now. From sugar sand to earthworms galore. That's a plus!
     
  9. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Bren, If you can get your hands on oak leaves when they start falling, grab them and put them down and top with the pine needles.
     
  10. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I already hit my neighbors up Scott! 3 houses are going to give me all they have this year. :)
     
  11. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Three inches thick is not sufficient for weed prevention in my opinion. I put it down thick like Tim, its worked for me.
     
  12. Kipjanet

    Kipjanet Active Member

    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Zone 10 Miami Springs, Fl
    Tim have you ever used a pre emergent applied before putting down mulch you can get both liquid or granules ? They kill the weed seed when they sprout
     
  13. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    When possible before mulching, I'll trim a bunch of palms that have fan shaped leaves, such as thrinax radiata or cocothrinax. Cut the base above the stem so they will lay flat on the ground, then layer them on the ground in the area to be mulched. Then completely cover the palm fronds with mulch. It doesn't take long for the fronds to break down, and it helps a lot with eliminating weeds. I've heard of people using newspaper, cardboard, even bed sheets. I personally do not like weed cloth because it does not break down and will be a big hassle later on.
     
    junglegal likes this.
  14. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    I started with 2 bales of pine needles today. Can't afford to do the whole yard @ 6.50 a bale. I would be single & broke. It will get cheaper as I add more plants. It covered a 15' long by 2' area thickly laid. I am going to do weedy areas near irrigation first. See if it solves my problem areas.
     
    Native son likes this.
  15. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    At my old garden, the previous owners laid old carpet. Everytime I tried to dig, I'd hit it buried 4-5" inches down. Freak'in nightmare! That stuff is heavy moisture and soil laden!!
    I tried the cardboard trick. Out back my standard poodle would dig it up and chew it. Anything paper, he is drawn too. Maybe he has pica disorder o_O
     

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