[NAFEX] straw mulch

Hélène Dessureault interverbis at videotron.ca
Tue Apr 19 11:20:38 EDT 2005

Hi Del,
Please do consider me as a definite non-rounduper!...
I use mulch extensively. I don't mind if the straw builds up a little in the
summer as I have sandy loam and a slope, and additional water retention is
usually welcome. I find though that the straw disappears quickly and does
not leave a permanent mound around the tree, but then my trees are planted
on a slope.
Sometimes, when there is some straw left close to the tree in the late Fall,
I pull it back around the tree line away from the trunk with a rake, mainly
to deter the occasional rodent (Some of you will remember that I keep an
army of cats to take care of rodents.) At that time, I pull back whatever
plants has taken hold. I put new straw every Spring after the soil has
warmed up (early June).
I get chopped straw by the reusable bags from a local wheat farm (organic
growers). Maybe the fact that it is chopped makes it disappear in the soil
faster.... with the help of diligent earth worms. Chopped straw holds water
better than long folded straw strand from a bale. It is commonly used for
bedding in barns.
Sometimes in the Fall, I am lucky to find a work crew nearby cleaning the
brushes and trees under electricity lines and along the roads. They put
branches through a chipper and will gladly deliver piles of rough mixed wood
chips for free when it is closer for them. I let it sit for a year, and the
next year, I use it for mulch. It does not keep weeds down as well as straw
but it hads diversity.
I also have a big pile of dolomite from a local quarry renown for its
magnesium content, bought ten years ago for around  $200. I carry some to
each tree once in a while... I have about 50 trees to maintain, as a hobby.
Oh and in the Spring mulching with straw, I add some aged cow manure from a
local (organic) farmer.
Roundupidoodoos and the likes are not welcome around here.
When people have to resort to Roundup to stay competitive, maybe it is time
to start collectively doing things differently. (Could not resist expressing
an opinion,  :<]  No offense.)
Hélène, north of Ottawa and waiting for rain.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Del Stubbs" <northernlights2n at yahoo.com>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] mulch (was gypsum)

> Lucky, that is bizarre, they must have gotten gypsum mined  near a uranium
deposit. I am
> dropping the sheetrock idea because I dont need it fauling up
certification in the
> future. Thanks for all the useful commentary folks. However,  half the
reason I
> considered it was as a sod smothering mulch. Since I won't use easy
solutions like
> roundup to kill back grass around young trees, and I have too many to weed
whip up to the
> trunk every couple weeks, mulch has been a real study - that I am not
satisfied with yet.
> If I use mats (ie, cardboard, carpet, perforated mats, etc. ) then rotted
manure I apply
> is seperated from the root circle. If I use staw it soon builds up to a
mound that will
> build  too deep around the trunk. What do other non-roundupers do?
> Thanks,  Del, n MN Z 2/3
> --- Lucky Pittman <lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu> wrote:
> > Del,
> > Don't know if it's a concern in your area, but I had a buddy who was in
> > grad school at USF at Tampa FL, and he told me about a big wallboard
> > manufacturer there who had huge stacks of wallboard just sitting out on
> > back side of the property, because of some glitch in materials
> > which resulted in the manufactured product containing/emitting excessive
> > radioactivity, making the product unsalable.  Don't know how long the
> > sat there - heck, it may still be there 25+ years later.
> >
> > Lucky
> Del Stubbs  http://www.pinewoodforge.com   zone 3   N. MN
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