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are wood chips ok for this ?

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are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/31/2014, 1:35 pm

I have an area8 foot wide X app.30 foot long, in back yard next to a fence.
Huge oak trees hover above and only receives about 4-5 hours of summer sun.
There are rose of sharon's,  roses, daffodils, tiger lilies, and lilies of the valley.
It is a wet area until the sun dries it out some time in spring..
Ground is hard and lots of roots from oaks underneath.
Question is...would this area be a good place to add wood chips ?
Everything does nicely so far so maybe I should leave it alone...???

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/31/2014, 2:03 pm

I see no reason not to add them.  I would only add 2-3 inches and then replenish as needed over the years.    

The wood chips actually seem to regulate the moisture of the soil really well.  They take up moisture when it's too wet and release it later when things start drying out.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/31/2014, 5:33 pm

Only thing is, if you're the type to rake the fallen leaves, it would be harder to get them off wood chips without taking the chips with you and spraying them about while raking. But if you just leave the leaves there, that's not a problem.

My neighbor recently put down woodchips without putting down cardboard or weed block first, and now weeds are coming up everywhere through the wood chips. Kinda hard to get at with your fingers, and over such a large area it would take many hours a week. Anyone who's not already doing such things might want to solarize or otherwise cover or protect their soil, with cardboard or weedcloth or whatever, before laying down chips. Weed seeds will still float in eventually, but at least existing weeds won't think you just threw them a party.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/31/2014, 6:32 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:Only thing is, if you're the type to rake the fallen leaves, it would be harder to get them off wood chips without taking the chips with you and spraying them about while raking.  But if you just leave the leaves there, that's not a problem.

My neighbor recently put down woodchips without putting down cardboard or weed block first, and now weeds are coming up everywhere through the wood chips.  Kinda hard to get at with your fingers, and over such a large area it would take many hours a week.  Anyone who's not already doing such things might want to solarize or otherwise cover or protect their soil, with cardboard or weedcloth or whatever, before laying down chips.  Weed seeds will still float in eventually, but at least existing weeds won't think you just threw them a party.
The best protection for weeds before putting down wood chips is at least 4 layers of wet newspaper.  It works better than cardboard as it smothers the weeds and conforms to the earth underneath if it's not smooth.  Cardboard can leave air gaps for weeds to travel in, especially invasive weeds like bermuda grass.  

If there is a thick mulch layer, after a good lay down of protection, the weeding is super easy.  A gently pull and most weeds are gone.  I weed with a rake or a hoe and even dandelion and other tap root weeds come right up.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/31/2014, 8:58 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:
The best protection for weeds before putting down wood chips is at least 4 layers of wet newspaper.  It works better than cardboard as it smothers the weeds and conforms to the earth underneath if it's not smooth.  Cardboard can leave air gaps for weeds to travel in, especially invasive weeds like bermuda grass.

Good to know, thanks!  

If there is a thick mulch layer, after a good lay down of protection, the weeding is super easy.  A gently pull and most weeds are gone.  I weed with a rake or a hoe and even dandelion and other tap root weeds come right up.

My neighbor has a large garden with a couple dozen 2x8 boxes, and she put big wood chips, more like chunks, all around them. Weeding all that area between and around the boxes by hand is pretty much out of the question, but I'll try it again with a rake. Picking them out from between the chunks is too much to do by far, but maybe just disturbing them here and there with a rake and leaving the sun and weather to kill their roots will help.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/31/2014, 9:03 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:
@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:
The best protection for weeds before putting down wood chips is at least 4 layers of wet newspaper.  It works better than cardboard as it smothers the weeds and conforms to the earth underneath if it's not smooth.  Cardboard can leave air gaps for weeds to travel in, especially invasive weeds like bermuda grass.

Good to know, thanks!  

If there is a thick mulch layer, after a good lay down of protection, the weeding is super easy.  A gently pull and most weeds are gone.  I weed with a rake or a hoe and even dandelion and other tap root weeds come right up.

My neighbor has a large garden with a couple dozen 2x8 boxes, and she put big wood chips, more like chunks, all around them.  Weeding all that area between and around the boxes by hand is pretty much out of the question, but I'll try it again with a rake.  Picking them out from between the chunks is too much to do by far, but maybe just disturbing them here and there with a rake and leaving the sun and weather to kill their roots will help.
If you have the coarse bark wood type mulch I don't know how that would work, but the kind of wood mulch I have is light weight and has a lot of tiny leaf, needles and wood pieces of a wide variety of sizes.  It's really light weight, lets a lot of air in and moves easily.  The weeds I'm dealing with blew in from the open 5 acres of wild grass pasture land next to me so they're growing down through the mulch which makes their roots long and leggy and easy to pull.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/31/2014, 9:24 pm

She put in a very long-lasting, big-chunk style chip surface, definitely not the finer and quick to decompose BTE stuff. Her stuff is too rough to pick and sort through for weeds without scratching my fingers up or just snapping off grass blades before getting them clear of the mulch. She explicitly does not want chips that degrade, but ones that take as long as possible to degrade.

The Oregon winter/spring weeds are crazy, too. They can get to reproductive status within a week or so! Leave a little one alone for what seems like a day or two and it's already become a flower, and when you try to pick it ... the seeds explode out of it and the cycle begins again. aaaaand then she uses round-up between the garden beds, some of which are level with the chips.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  jimmy cee on 4/1/2014, 7:33 am

I'm thinking I might need to forget the chips idea here, this area is full of daffodils, and lily of the valley's.
To cover these with the way the sun is situated here may have a negative result.
Or possibly when their up, hand layer the chips throughout.?
I'll need to take pic when its all up.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/1/2014, 12:10 pm

My bulbs come right up through the chips layer. It's very light and they're able to move it aside easily.

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Cypress Bark

Post  rabbithutch on 4/1/2014, 12:19 pm

No, I don't have a dog named Cypress (but that might have been an appropriate joke for today  Laughing  )

We use cypress mulch or cypress bark in beds and areas where we want to suppress leaves.  As a mulch, it does not float and wash away as badly as do most wood chips and wood mulches.  I don't know if it is available in your area, but Walmart and Lowes both carry it around here for most of the season from Spring to late Fall.  Another advantage is that its fairly easy to separate leaves from cypress with a light leaf rake or a blower that is not too powerful.

HTH
 

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  has55 on 4/1/2014, 1:09 pm

@audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:The best protection for weeds before putting down wood chips is at least 4 layers of wet newspaper.  It works better than cardboard as it smothers the weeds and conforms to the earth underneath if it's not smooth.  Cardboard can leave air gaps for weeds to travel in, especially invasive weeds like bermuda grass.  

If there is a thick mulch layer, after a good lay down of protection, the weeding is super easy.  A gently pull and most weeds are gone.  I weed with a rake or a hoe and even dandelion and other tap root weeds come right up.
how thick do you lay the newspaper down for smothering bermuda grass? It big in texas. Have had to deal with nut grass?

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/1/2014, 1:12 pm

I haven't personally done an area with bermuda grass - though I've heard that people have success I'm not sure I believe it.  Bermuda is the grass from He**!!!!!!!! What a Face   One of these days I'll give an area a trial.  If they say 4 layers of newspaper I would do 6-8, but that's just my serious dislike for that grass.

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Re: are wood chips ok for this ?

Post  sanderson on 4/1/2014, 1:42 pm

And put clear plastic over to add solarization. I always thought black plastic was the best but clear can really destroy grass.  Embarassed 

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