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Author Topic: Overmulching?  (Read 911 times)

ExpertPruning.com

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Overmulching?
« on: December 15, 2017, 03:46:25 AM »
I am in San Diego, and I have planted peach, cherimoya, mamey sapote, canistel, mango, avocado, guava, citrus.

I have been looking for a big mulch drop for months. I walk outside today and see that all of the trees on my street are being uprooted and replaced.

They have the wood chipper on site, and are feeding whole trees into it, leaving behind those beautiful mulch nuggets.

I asked and was able to secure a large load of mulch and spent the day applying it to my trees. I now have at least 3 inches covering every speck of dirt in my yard.

Is it too much? The guy says theyre going to have another truckload ready tomorrow if i want it. I would add it, but is there any risk of 'overmulching' my trees?

Lory

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 04:01:40 AM »
Apart from citrus (ask Millet in citrus forum i've no sure information) i think all other species you mentioned will love your mulching project :-)
Lorenzo

Frog Valley Farm

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 06:22:25 AM »
🗯
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 08:24:35 PM by Frog Valley Farm »

zands

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 06:26:51 AM »
I have over mulched in soggy Florida. Really over doing will cut off O2 here. I have not done this so far but I do see thinner/minor tree roots growing upward into the mulch layer after many years.

In your dry climate it will be very difficult to deprive tree roots and soil of O2 via too much mulch. So get as much tree chips as you can. ALSO away from your trees, You can also pile it up and let it rot for a while like a compost pile.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 06:29:14 AM by zands »

pineislander

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 07:52:08 AM »
If the soil is very dry and you apply heavy mulch light rains will not penetrate deep enough to get to the soil and you may have to irrigate. Eventually rain will get down through and the soil will stay moist much longer than without mulch. 3" isn't so much. In a dry climate that is about right. Tree trimming mulches get better as they age so just store what they propose to give you.

skhan

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 08:51:47 AM »
I recently dumped a truckload of mulch on some of my trees.
Its over a foot deep in some areas, no ill effect yet.
Just make sure to leave a decent space between you trunk and the mulch as you don't want to bury the root crown.
Khan's Edible Oasis
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spaugh

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 10:56:40 AM »
Not over done.  You can put way more than 3".  That stuff will break down quickly.  Citrus, no problem, I have all my citrus mulched.  It retains water in our dry environment and breaks down and feeds worms.  Trees respond very well to heavy mulching.  Best if you can have them get you something like pine or other soft wood.  Hard wood is ok but can rob you of nitrogen and will take a long time to break down.  You want to get mulch with some leafy green in it also to add some nitrogen to all the wood carbon.
Brad Spaugh

Greg A

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2017, 11:05:18 AM »
I'm in San Diego county. I normally mulch with tree trimmings to about six inches deep once or twice a year.

Doesn't matter if it's touching the trunk in my yard; I have sandy loam soil, and I irrigate relatively infrequently and out toward the trees' canopy edge.

I wait to apply a new layer until midwinter though, once we've had a few inches of rain, because otherwise you've got to water a lot to soak the mulch and get water down to the soil below.

I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to get that second load. Never know when you'll get another convenient chance.
gregalder.com/yardposts/

FruitFreak

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2017, 11:44:18 AM »
We have been mulching heavily for over a year straight everyday.  Short answer, yes, you can over-mulch.  As Zands mentioned, excessive compaction can deplete O2.  It can also cause too much moisture in the soil or prevent adequate moisture from penetrating.  The other caution with heavy mulching involves heat.  Thick composting piles can generate staggering temperature spikes which I believe can cook tender foliage.  Mulch will breakdown quickly depending on material type and precipitation so you can go much thicker than 3" for the initial layer.  I would however leave a couple feet around each tree, that way you can apply the appropriate amount of mulch around the trunk/rootzone.  At least this is what we are doing for younger mangos.
- Marley

skhan

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2017, 11:49:30 AM »
We have been mulching heavily for over a year straight everyday.  Short answer, yes, you can over-mulch.  As Zands mentioned, excessive compaction can deplete O2.  It can also cause too much moisture in the soil or prevent adequate moisture from penetrating.  The other caution with heavy mulching involves heat.  Thick composting piles can generate staggering temperature spikes which I believe can cook tender foliage.  Mulch will breakdown quickly depending on material type and precipitation so you can go much thicker than 3" for the initial layer.  I would however leave a couple feet around each tree, that way you can apply the appropriate amount of mulch around the trunk/rootzone.  At least this is what we are doing for younger mangos.

I wonder if throwing a few bags of perlite around before adding a new layer will help with compaction?
Khan's Edible Oasis
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FruitFreak

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2017, 12:52:46 PM »
We have been mulching heavily for over a year straight everyday.  Short answer, yes, you can over-mulch.  As Zands mentioned, excessive compaction can deplete O2.  It can also cause too much moisture in the soil or prevent adequate moisture from penetrating.  The other caution with heavy mulching involves heat.  Thick composting piles can generate staggering temperature spikes which I believe can cook tender foliage.  Mulch will breakdown quickly depending on material type and precipitation so you can go much thicker than 3" for the initial layer.  I would however leave a couple feet around each tree, that way you can apply the appropriate amount of mulch around the trunk/rootzone.  At least this is what we are doing for younger mangos.

I wonder if throwing a few bags of perlite around before adding a new layer will help with compaction?

Hmmm.  It seems doubtful but I'm not sure?
- Marley

Vernmented

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2017, 12:55:32 PM »
My first mulchings are about 16" deep. Add amendments and fert beforehand.
-Josh

fyliu

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 03:10:46 PM »
I left my response in the citrus thread. In short, 3 ft will be overdoing it 2 ft might be overdoing it, but 18 inches has worked.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 04:00:19 PM by fyliu »

raimeiken

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 09:06:45 PM »
I don't think compaction will be that much of a problem as long as it's not a heavy traffic path.

All the critters(crickets, roaches, worms, ants, etc.) that will be drawn to it and live in it will help alleviate compaction problems and help with decomposition. So I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just keep it away from the base and trunk of the trees. Use those empty plastic pots and cut the bottoms off and cut vertically, and place them around the base of the tree to keep mulch away from the trunks. 

sahai1

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2017, 09:34:57 PM »
keep at least 2-3 feet away from the tap root, and then go to town!  It will keep out weeds, but water it heavily and keep it from drying up and heating up.  Some woods have natural chemicals that you need to be aware of before mulching.  Eucalyptus keeps away insects, Ironwood and other pine needles kill grass.  The quicker the mulch breaks down the better it is for your trees.  It is very good to expand on what you are doing with the mulch, check the PH and add 46-0-0 if necessary.  Add dirt to the mulch and work it in every month turning it over.  Turn some into biochar, or just burn some in a 'sawdust stove' and use the ash to work in as fertilizer.  Mulch heavily, then remove it all add dirt, then remulch.  All in all the microorganisms will break up your soil, but just be careful it doesn't kill your trees.

Also some trees have berries and other things that aren't edible but would provide a great breeding ground for gnats and flies, especially heat will help to breed gnats.  Flooding the mulch will help with that.

Or just turn it into compost, pile it high, add grass, leaves, manure, and cover it.  Till it and work it together every month and water it as much as possible.  Although this is the most time consuming, after a few months you will have a more quality mulch that is safer to apply to trees.


pineislander

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2017, 07:32:57 AM »
I have a chipper which attaches to tractor PTO but it is limited to wood about 3" diameter so I have some unchippable logs. Larger material like that can be used as borders around mulch or laid on ground and mulched over. It is more durable than mulch and the mulch eventually helps the logs break down.
 Be careful about mulching over established weeds and grasses with deep-roots like Bermuda or Torpedo grass and perennial vines.

You need to carefully remove all of those roots before mulching and exercise closely afterwards.

Those can be rooted as deep as 12 inches, can emerge through thick mulch and become nearly impossible to extract from the fruit tree root zone.

OCchris1

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2017, 02:40:02 AM »
That's called a "score". Good job. your trees will love you. Chris
-Chris

Samu

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Re: Overmulching?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2017, 10:30:24 AM »
Just keep it away from the base and trunk of the trees. Use those empty plastic pots and cut the bottoms off and cut vertically, and place them around the base of the tree to keep mulch away from the trunks.

Interestingly, after reading about this trunk rot danger few years ago, that's exactly what I've been doing to my trees; no trunk rot so far...
Sam

 

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