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  • From: Jay Cutts <>
  • To:, mailing list at ibiblio - Northamerican Allied Fruit Experimenters <>
  • Subject: Re: [nafex] mulching trees
  • Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 15:17:07 -0600

Thanks for the suggestion. We have plenty of pine needles here and they do break down, mostly mechanically, not biologically. They result in a deep layer of organic matter under the trees but that layer is very dry and not biologically very active.

The pine needles break down because they're small. Wood chips are too big and don't do anything. Except immediately after a rain (which happens only a handful of times a year) they are bone dry. Your suggestion of wetting them down is nice but would last about a day.

I also personally find wood chips a real pain to work around. They make weeding difficult (and yes the grasses and other weeds grow up right through them) and are uncomfortable to kneel on when working around the tree.



Jay Cutts
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On 5/26/2015 11:06 PM, fuwa fuwa usagi wrote:
My suggestion, run a intermediate term test. Mark off a 10x10 area, wet it
down and then add a minimum of 2ft of wood chips and let it sit for a
year...then dig a test whole in it and see what has happened. If it has
decayed a bit and you have worms and insect activity, as I suspect, add
enough mulch to bring it back up to st least 2 ft, and check it again a year

The key is, the sheer mass of the wood chips will likely create a micro
environment that promotes decay. Even in the arid areas of the Gila
wilderness there is substantial decay underneath 2 ft of pine needles.

This will give you an idea what is truly possible in your area, rather then

2-3 years to run a test is nothing in the greater scheme of things.


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