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 Post subject: Mulch
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:05 pm
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Location: Western NY
I figured that I should start something else in this section... Does anyone use special mulches that seem to work for bamboo better than others?

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:25 pm 
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Location: Zone 6a - SW of Pittsburgh - 15317 Location Details
I was able to notice on many potted bamboo plants and certain shrubs/trees in my new landscape that the dyed mulch the landscape contractor used in our neighborhood was NOT good for the plants. It turned many plants a light green color in the heat of summer even with watering. Was not lack of nutrients due to over watering. Even some of the bamboo that I hit heavy with ironite/miracle-grow still remained light. I would avoid those types with dye.

Really depends on how frequently you want to apply - how much you want to spend - how much area you have - and how bad you get infested with little critters.

a few examples:

#1 endless supply of funds + no worries about critters = triple shredded bark mulch

#2 critters abound + spouse who doesn't want you to spend much on mulching your bamboo plants = free wood chips from the tree company

:)

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:27 am 
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Location: Seattle and Wenatchee, WA
I think that we should define the question a bit, specifically, what are the reasons that a person would put down mulch around bamboo, and for each specific reason, what have people found to be the most effective?

I assume that the number one reason that members here would be using mulch would be to contribute to the overall health of a plant or grove, the second reason for weed suppression (which naturally follows the first reason and plays a part in the third), and the third reason being for enhancing the look of a garden.

I am most concerned with the first reason, that being contributing to health of a grove. There have been many references in postings here to bamboo seeking out piles of wood chips, of bamboo being happiest when awash in mulched wood, if bamboo were a man he would ask wood chips to get engaged and so on..
What concerns me is the fact that while wood-mulch is going to provide great benefits like moisture retention, weed suppression, and a host of nutrients released nice and slow over time, there is still the issue of it being a nitrogen-sink, and what to do about that. I am opting for composting, a project which has quickly expanded to be nearly as encompassing as bamboo cultivation itself, but I believe that the end result of a source of nutrition and an additive that will build soil quality over time more than makes up for the time and effort put in. Plus, when you get down to simple cost, it just makes sense if you have the space to make a large, 'hot' pile that will kill weeds, pathogens, and with enough turning will produce ample amounts of compost every month. Here is the composting side of the project:
Attachment:
File comment: The composting area
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This picture shows the first stall or 'bin' as it is being filled, which will contain a pile of about 5x5x6. As turning time comes I will have built the adjoining stall, of slightly smaller dimensions. Behind the stall and the wheelbarrow is the soil pile (from a local guy who sells a pretty good mix by the yard), and beyond that, next to the black plastic bags is the 'green' materials staging area (grass clippings, floral and other garden waste, fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps, etc.), and next you have a pile of horse manure, another green part compost ingredient. The larger piles in the background are the wood chips and other ground plant material that the tree services and the landscapers have been leaving. I have found so many uses for wood chips beyond just compost and mulch, which in itself can use an almost unlimited supply when landscaping a large property. Probably the use that I have enjoyed the most is the creation of a path that I have been putting in to allow easier access to the hillside. Previously, the path that had just naturally opened up from the foot traffic were a huge pain when trying to get a load of soil out to a new planting. My friend had actually been thinking of having a guy come in with a backhoe and put in a small road cutting across the hillside. I thought that was extreme, and knowing that it would be a while off anyway, I decided to just start laying down extra wood chips to form a path across the hill, and it turned out pretty good.
Attachment:
File comment: The trail head area, with the wood chip trail running across in the middle of the photo
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Attachment:
File comment: closer view of a great use for extra mulch, with the trail passing below the Nuda planting and actually crossing a small gully about seven feet beyond the Nuda
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I will be experimenting over the next year to find out what ratio of materials going into the compost piles that will produce a compost hot enough to feed the bamboo. Also, I plan to add the compost as a layer after shooting is complete, and again in the fall, and perhaps a very thin layer in the early spring or late winter. With this, I will put down a thin layer of wood chips as a top mulch, though I will have to alter this in the future if the compost is not containing enough nitrogen to keep the wood chips breaking down and the bamboo supplied with as much nitrogen as it can handle.


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 Post subject: Re: Mulch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:35 pm 
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Location: Gloucester, UK.
benboo wrote:
Does anyone use special mulches that seem to work for bamboo better than others?



IMHO- the best mulch for bamboo is 'bamboo' :shock:

A good mulch of shredded/chipped culms and leaves works wonders, far,far better than wood or anything else come to that- a little hard to come by though in the early days. Once the plants size up and thinning starts a good shredder is a must- go for a good one as it's gonna get a hard time :D

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:28 pm 
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Location: Western NY
On the property that my bamboo is going to be growing there is alot of leaf compost and humus in the woods. would it be good to use alot of that around the bamboo?

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:38 pm 
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Location: Esparto, CA
Bamboo Society Membership: ABS - America
benboo - I don't know where you are located but your planting site sounds like a natural vole habitat - leaf litter in the woods - be careful planting there!

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 Post subject: Re: Mulch
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:01 am 
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Location: Western NY
I took leaf litter from the woods and put it in the planting site. No voles there as far as i know. :| but I saw a baby deer there 3 days ago :mrgreen:

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