[nafex] mulching trees

Bob Randall YearRoundGardening at comcast.net
Mon May 25 13:13:05 EDT 2015


Mulch hay often has a strong lignin component (Acid Detergent Fiber ADF)— at least the worst hays from the point of view of feeding horses do.  

Here, (what is in the feed stores) —herbicide free mature grass hay and straw hay-- as a mulch under trees has been very good.  I think shredded (not chipped if you can get it) composted ramial wood (aka native mulch) works even better (but that is in an area where there is a lot of both hay and ramial wood mulch) and I need to pay for whatever I use. 

If one were cheaper or easier to get where I was, I would quickly take either.

I think either would work much better than turf or any green, succulent plants. I’m pretty sure I can find some studies on that if I go back a few years and look, but they would only apply in particular climates.   Ramial lasts under a tree much longer in wet hot climates than does hay and is weed and herbicide free here. What will work in any given place is always more complicated.  See 

http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages/publications/id-190.htm <http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages/publications/id-190.htm>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramial_chipped_wood <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramial_chipped_wood> 

For specifics on orchards see http://www.groworganicapples.com/organic-orcharding-articles/ramial-wood-chip-primer.php <http://www.groworganicapples.com/organic-orcharding-articles/ramial-wood-chip-primer.php>

Bob


"Share What You Grow and What You Know!"

Bob Randall, Ph.D.

http://yearroundgardening.me







> On May 24, 2015, at 3:45 PM, Lee Reich <leeareich at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> I guess I would have to see some data comparing various growth or yield parameters for the same trees growing under the same conditions with, say, wood chip mulch vs. hay mulch. My guess is that rigorous comparisons for this do not exist.
> 
> Not that I have anything against woody mulches. Leaves and wood chips blanket the ground beneath most of my trees (although some years, the mulch has been hay). I use wood chips and leaves because they are deposited for free at my site by arborists and landscapers.
> 
> Lee Reich, PhD
> Come visit my farmden at  http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog> <http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog>>
> http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/> <http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/>>
> 
> Books by Lee Reich:
> A Northeast Gardener's Year
> The Pruning Book
> Weedless Gardening
> Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
> Landscaping with Fruit
> Grow Fruit Naturally
> 
>> On May 24, 2015, at 1:47 PM, Bob Randall <YearRoundGardening at comcast.net <mailto:YearRoundGardening at comcast.net>> wrote:
>> 
>> What Lee says is true also.  Trees can live in all sorts of crazy places and even “thrive.” I have seen them on rock cliffs. 
>> I used to live on the edge of the Sahara.  There was a famous tree “The Tree of Teneré”.  Nothing at all living around it for miles/kilometers.  See for yourself. Do an image search or
>> 
>> http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/categories/C53/P20/ <http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/categories/C53/P20/> <http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/categories/C53/P20/ <http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/categories/C53/P20/>>
>> 
>> But they will do best with rotted lignin materials.
>> 
>> Bob
>> 
>> 
>> "Share What You Grow and What You Know!"
>> 
>> Bob Randall. Ph.d.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> On May 24, 2015, at 12:03 PM, Lee Reich <leeareich at gmail.com <mailto:leeareich at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> While what Bob says is true, trees seem to also thrive when growing in grass, as long as it’s not too competitive (i.e. mowed low and frequently), or being mulched with low lignin materials. 
>>> 
>>> I once had to chuckle at a presentation by Dr. Ingaham, when she was espousing the need of trees for a fungally dominated environment. The audience was nodding their heads in assent as they sat beneath a lusty, mature red oak thriving in mown lawn.
>>> 
>>> Lee Reich, PhD
>>> Come visit my farmden at  http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog> <http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog>> <http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog><http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog>>>
>>> http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/> <http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/>> <http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/> <http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/>>>
>>> 
>>> Books by Lee Reich:
>>> A Northeast Gardener's Year
>>> The Pruning Book
>>> Weedless Gardening
>>> Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
>>> Landscaping with Fruit
>>> Grow Fruit Naturally
>>> 
>>>> On May 24, 2015, at 12:23 PM, Bob Randall <YearRoundGardening at comcast.net <mailto:YearRoundGardening at comcast.net> <mailto:YearRoundGardening at comcast.net <mailto:YearRoundGardening at comcast.net>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> With mulch there is always a dilemma between what is desirable and feasible.  In nature, trees life in places with fungal dominant soils and prefer a forest floor type mulch with lots of lignin in layers from uncomposted on top to humus on the bottom.  Grasses with few exceptions prefer a bacteria dominated soil.  So if you have your choice mulch with shredded tree branches composted or leaves or straw, but not green succulent herbaceous material including grass.  See The Soil Biology Primer at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/ <http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/><http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/ <http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/>><http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/ <http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/><http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/ <http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/biology/>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> All this is made more complicated by the lack of moisture in many places, so that not only is there not much material to mulch with, but also it takes forever to rot unless it goes through the gut of animals.
>>>> 
>>>> What is possible in any given place therefore is based on knowing what the aim is and doing your best with in cost and labor constraints to get a solution. 
>>>> 
>>>> I live in warm Houston where in El Nino years it never stops raining it seems, everything except concrete rots, and branches of trees grow at an alarming clip, so mulching is simply a matter of finding the time to do it.  Santa Fe is dry and cold a lot, so not much grows or rots. Your best bet is to find plant material that is an industrial byproduct I would guess.
>>>> 
>>>> Bob Randall
>>>> 
>>>> "Share What You Grow and What You Know!"
>>>> 
>>>> Bob Randall, Ph.D.
>>>> 
>>>> http://yearroundgardening.me
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> On May 24, 2015, at 10:52 AM, Lee Reich <leeareich at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> How about letting the grass grow wherever it wants but keeping it mown short. The organic matter from the clippings will improve the soil and the constant mowing can keep the grass from becoming too competitive.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Lee Reich, PhD
>>>>> Come visit my farmden at  http://www.leereich.com/blog <http://www.leereich.com/blog>
>>>>> http://leereich.com/ <http://leereich.com/>
>>>>> 
>>>>> Books by Lee Reich:
>>>>> A Northeast Gardener's Year
>>>>> The Pruning Book
>>>>> Weedless Gardening
>>>>> Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
>>>>> Landscaping with Fruit
>>>>> Grow Fruit Naturally
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On May 19, 2015, at 8:44 PM, Jay Cutts <orders at cuttsreviews.com> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Folks,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Here's a dilemma I've been wrestling with for years. I'm at 7000 feet in NM. I have a number of rather small trees planted out in a field. There is a very invasive grass that grows in the field - I think it's Western Wheat grass - that sends out underground runners for 4 or 5 feet.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I don't know how to protect the soil immediately under the tree and then out under the drip line and a little further. In some places I've put down two layers of weed barrier, covering maybe a circle with a diameter of 4-5 feet. It does keep the grass from coming through but the grass roots are still pervasive in the covered area. After a while, the grasses do poke through the weed barrier.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I'd prefer to have a nice circle of organic mulch that would break down in that area but then the grass goes completely wild, growing right through the mulch.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I'm assuming that letting the grass grow under the tree is bad. I guess it will use up nutrients and just feels like it's choking the tree out.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I'm wondering if there is something I can plant under the trees that would outcompete the weedy grass. The weed grass doesn't do as well if it gets shaded out (the trees are too small to create shade) though it will still spread.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> If I planted something like alfalfa, could I plant it right up to the base of a young tree? If I leave the area immediately under the tree bare or mulched, the grass will come in.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> We only get 18 inches of rain a year, so anything that is planted for a cover crop is going to have survive on that or it will be stealing water from the tree.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Another issue is that the soft, mulched and watered area around the base of the trees is perfect for attracting gophers. I've had gophers down a 5 year old tree by gnawing off the base in the winter. Who knows how much other damage they're doing underground to the tree roots. So the nicer I make the soil around the trees, the more gopher damage I have. Help!
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Regards,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Jay
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Jay Cutts
>>>>>> Director, Cutts Graduate Reviews
>>>>>> Lead Author, Barron's MCAT Prep Book
>>>>>> Lead Author, Barron's MCAT Flash Cards
>>>>>> Lead Author, Barron's LSAT Prep Book
>>>>>> (505)-281-0684
>>>>>> 10 am to 10 pm Mt Time, 7 days
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
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