Last fall I put down 2-3 inches of cedar mulch over my shrub and flower bed. My wife hates the color and now wants me to use a darker hardwood for mulch. Is it okay to mix the cedar mulch into the soil and then add a layer of hardwood mulch on top? Will the plants still get enough oxygen and water to prosper?
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm Posts: 2884 Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
No, that's not a good idea. The problem with mixing un-decomposed woody material with the soil is that the fungi that decompose it need a lot of nitrogen. If it cannot get the nitrogen from the air, it will take it from every nitrogen source it can find in the soil. It gives the effect of chlorosis, or yellow plants. That lasts as long as it takes to decompose the woody stuff.
_________________ David Hall Moderator Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum
I am getting ready to make some azalea, camellia, and gardenia beds and the Dirt Doctor says to mix 50% compost and 50% cedar mulch to make the bed for them. Won't this cause the chlorosis you said would occur when mixing cedar mulch w/ soil and damage my azaleas, camellia, and gardenias.
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 9:01 am Posts: 961 Location: Dallas, TX
There's some good and bad information here. Large textured cedar mulch mixed int the soil will cause some nitrogen problems. On the other hand, fine textured cedar mixed with compost and other organic amendments will not and the entire bed needs to be made of the mix. Coconut fiber is also a good ingrient. No soil should be used in the azalea beds. Well - a very small amount can be used to innoculate the beds with the native soil microbes.
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