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Thread: Anyone ever used Christmas tree mulch ?

  1. #1
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    Anyone ever used Christmas tree mulch ?

    My city has a treecycling program. After Christmas, you can drop off your live tree at designated locations and when the spirit moves the Parks department they come out and chip whatever has accumulated. The public is welcome to the free mulch. After dogging the Parks dept., they finally chipped trees in at least one of two locations I had been checking everyday. I gathered up 2 big trash bags full and some smaller empty potting soil bags. I had to roll down the window and open the vents on the way home. I like the smell of pine but it was a tad bit much !
    I have applied it yet but do wonder if anyone else can expound on how it does. I assume after awhile it will brown--will it look yucky then ? Any other impressions ?

    P.S. Someone dropped off two flocked(with that imitation snow) trees wrapped in plastic. I thought surely they will not chip them with the others. Ha! They chipped them alright and put the chips and all that white stuff on top of the mulch pile. I was able to work around it. It just struck me as pretty dum !
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  2. #2
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    After doing an internet search I found one and only one mention that caught my attention. That was 'do NOT use on perennials and annuals'. Well, give me a break...I did plan to mulch a flower bed with it ! (I am moving from there though anyway ;-)
    As an aside, the whole car smelled of pine today; checked the trunk for a forgotten bag but none remained. Gee, worked better than one of those little cardboard air freshener pine trees you hang on your rear view mirror LOL!
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  3. #3
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    I don't suppose they gave any reasoning behind their statement about now using it on perennials and annuals.

    I can't think of a reason why you couldn't use it, after all the only thing they could possible be treated with is a flame retardant. Pine is somewhat high acid, so maybe that's why. I'd go for it, but I'd also apply a full measure of high nitrogen fertilizer since the bark will use it when it starts to break down. If you can, save some for the new place and compost it (right in the plastic bags - tie them shut as tightly as you can though, and put them where they'll get 4 hours of sun a day (helps speed the decomposition.



    Rebecca
    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  4. #4
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    As Rebecca noted, there is a loss of nitrogen due to the decomposition process. Here is an article that helps explain a little bit about this.

    http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/champa...rs/980603.html
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  5. #5
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    Hmmm. Maybe it is the nitrogen angle. Here is the quote:

    Annuals and perennials (both flowers and vegetables) should only be mulched with materials that break down quickly, such as pesticide-free grass clippings and leaves. Christmas tree mulch should not be used on these.

    I was going to get more for my new place but didn't until I could figure out what this was all about. I guess now I will get more and compost it(looks like 3 months in a plastic bag in sun will do it).
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  6. #6
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    Make a small windrow of them, hang some rabbit cages above. It is important to have rabbits in the cages. Stir up the piles once in awhile to aid the composting. By this time next year, you can remove the mulch and use it with impunity. Replace the mulch under the rabbit cages with new Christmas tree grindings.

    You can move the whole set up annually thereby creating new beds. You could size this to your need for dl seedling space. How many years until you have converted the entire yard????

    You need a small trailer to pull around town to collect the goodies like this for your garden. You can never have too much organic material.
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  7. #7
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    Sandi- Youíve got me laughing so hard Iíve got tears in my eyes ! Bunnies ?! The small trailer part is eerily on target. My little Toyota Corolla has been treated like a truck for months now. I was almost going to just shovel the mulch directly into the trunk ! That reminds me. You should have seen ol doofus here trying to extricate the shovel from the trunk whilst at the mulch pile. I had gotten the darn thing in but couldnít figure out how to position it to remove it. I decided to just scoop the mulch with my hands but did recover my wits and was able to extricate the shovel. Funny thing though, I gave up using it anyway because scooping with my hands was so much faster ! I think that I am a dirt farmer at heart. And , I will take that yard inch by inch. I know that the south side is Ďin my pocketí already !
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  8. #8
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    I think we need to separate the use of organic materials into Mulch, and soil conditioner.

    It has long been recognized that any non-composted material (including the pine bark 'soil conditioner'), will consume or use nitrogen in the degrading process if it is mixed in with the soil. Composted material goes in the soil.

    However, mulch, lying on top of the soil cannot extract nitrogen from it. The nutrients migrate down, or leach out to the sides. Because of this, you can mulch with un-composted organics.

    The reason not to use the fresh, green, ground up pine material is because of the presence of resins and turpentine. At the least, the new pine/cedar materials should be allowed to die and dry before using it in any application except mixed into a compost bin or pile. As a matter of interest, even a mulch of 3-4 inches with fresh green material, will generate a greater than normal heat as it begins it's breakdown process. During that process, green materials actually release nitrogen into the mix and speed up the decomposition. As it dries, and has released it's nitrogen, the remaining carbons still need nitrogen to continue the biodegrading process and will extract all that it can from any source it happens to be mixed with (your soil).
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  9. #9
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    I think you all nailed the theory behind the warning. I did get a reply to my query from the originators of the statement but think that your answers are more correct. Here is the reply I received minutes ago:


    Thanks for contacting the Urban Composting Project of Brooklyn Botanic Garden!
    The reason why Christmas trees mulch is considered not appropriate for annuals and perennials plants is because it has often presented problems due to high acidity levels, and it might burn the plants if they are pH sensitive. You can use Christmas tree mulch on trees (for instance, street trees), while for annuals and perennials use finished compost (not half-finished compost because it is acidic, too) or dry leaves and grass that have not been treated with pesticides.
    You can visit our Gardenerís Resource Center at BBG to find more information.
    Have a great day!

    www.bbg.org
    Last edited by Dazed_Lily; 01-20-2006 at 10:04 AM.
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




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