Monday, April 21, 2008

'Bark' the garden

Sometimes we learn the hard way. After years of business, I am still going to school. I call it ‘The School of Hard Knocks’. I’m sure you can relate. We all have our stories; mine is about bark mulch.

Last year my staff mulched a new garden we just planted. It looked great, no buried plants, uniform coverage…good job guys. So as the garden came to life this spring, I started to see chunks of wood in the garden from 1-3” in size laying on the surface. I realized my guys used the economy mulch, not the Premium Bark Mulch we use on all projects.

So here I am 6:30 Sunday morning in the garden leaning up against a leaf rake scratching my head asking the same question many of you call about: ‘Is all Mulch the same?’ The answer is no. ‘Bark’ Mulch is just that, the stuff off the outside of the tree, bark. When ground up uniformly it biodegrades and eventually becomes soil. For those of you that have poor soil, decomposed bark is the best soil amendment. So when planting, mix it into the ground. Your plants will love it.

Generally, Mulch can be ground up wood including the bark on the outside, pulp wood on the inside and every twig and limb in between. The problem is the inside pulp wood does not biodegrade as fast as the bark. So as the bark biodegrades it sifts to the bottom leaving all the pulp wood on the surface. Next thing you know you have all this debris in your garden. You should be able to shred bark between your fingers. Pulp wood feels like a hard piece of wood you could burn in your fireplace. It cost more to skin the bark off a tree and separate it from the pulp wood. That’s why there is a cost difference in materials.

So I raked up the pulp wood debris into piles. Off it will go to be sent back to the woods behind the nursery. Next Sunday morning, I will be having a re-mulching party. If you want to see the difference for your self, you are cordially invited to join me.

Location: My gardens.
Time: Sunday 6:30 am.
Serving: Coffee and the good stuff, ‘Bark’ Mulch.
Please RSVP with desired wake up call preference.
See you…in the garden.

No comments: