Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

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Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Robert Halgr » Tue, 12 Sep 1995 04:00:00



Quote:

>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch, or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
>looks?

        I worked with some of the free stuff at the botanic gardens I used to
work at.  You get what you pay for.  The quality is variable, but usually
there is a high percentage of "sticks" (long thin branches that are really
annoying), that make it through the shredder.  Also a lot of green stuff -
leaves and the like.  I have also seen people get poison ivy reactions from
working with the stuff (they don't care what they throw in the shredder -
don't blame them).  If you are looking for attractive mulch, this isn't going
to be it.  If you are looking for something to make a woodland  path out of it
is pretty good, as long as you pull out all the sticks  so  people don't trip
over them.  It does make for good compost, and i suppose if you  had the time
and or the patience to sort through the load you could get a good percentage
of quality hardwood chips to mulch with.
        So really depends on what you want.  I'm on the graduate student
budget, I'd take the free stuff so I would have that 150 dollars to buy lunch
with.  If I could afford it i would spend the cash and get a high quality
bark.

Rob
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Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Scoo » Tue, 12 Sep 1995 04:00:00


We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch, or
get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
looks?

Thx
Scott

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Charles Rowlan » Tue, 12 Sep 1995 04:00:00



Quote:

>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark
mulch, or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service
company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how
it
>looks?

>Thx
>Scott

Scott,  There's a lot of difference, price being the least important.
Pine bark mulch is very light and tends to wash or float away if there
is any slope at all, Pine bark mulch comes from a "soft-wood" tree and
tends to decompose fairly rapidly and (some say) will rob nitrogen from
the soil to aid in the decomposition.  Mulched up trees are mostly
hardwood trees and are heavier wood (don't float away as bad), hardwood
decomposes more slowly, so the mulch lasts longer, mulched up tree
t***s ususually have ground up green leaves which contain enough
nitrogen to take care of the decomposition of the woody material (as
opposed to brown leaves which fall off in the fall and are mostly
carbon), and the mulched up trees IMHO look better.  Of course that's
subjective.   Chuck
 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Chad James Segu » Tue, 12 Sep 1995 04:00:00


...bark mulch versus shredded mulch

: hated it when, the day after they opened, all of the flowers on my
: rhodendron had wilted because the roots growing in the mulch had dried
: out.  So I pay the bucks and use pine bark.  In doing this I'm choosing
: in large part to keep the mulching and adding-organics-to-the-soil
: functions separate, so I do good soil preparation before planting.  

: But I also know lots of folks who are well-satisfied with shredded wood;
: I don't understand why since it doesn't work for me, but I know they are.

The bark mulch tends to float away on me.  I also get more slugs and snails
with bark mulch.  The negatives for shredded mulch are minor for me, so I
go with shredded mulch.
Chad

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Susan Sander » Tue, 12 Sep 1995 04:00:00



writes:

Quote:
>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch, or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
>looks?

Yep, and you could like one or the other because of the differences.
Pine bark stays more open than shredded wood, which is both good and bad.
 The problem with a mulch that packs down is that it can be hard to get
water to penetrate it, and the textural difference between the mulch and
the soil can become small enough that fibrous-rooted plants can start
growing roots up into the mulch.  Then because the mulch dries out faster
than soil does, the roots growing in the mulch dry out and the plant
wilts (this has been my experience with rhodendrons).  On the other hand,
a mulch that packs down is more effective at suppressing weeds (although
pine bark is also very good at this; just not quite as good).  The other
difference is that shredded wood breaks down more quickly; this can also
be good or bad.  The good is that it improves the soil more quickly by
adding organic matter.  The bad is that you have to renew it more
frequently and it can tie up the available nitrogen during the decay
process (although you can add additional nitrogen to keep this from being
a problem for your plants; because pine bark breaks down more slowly, it
ties up much less nitrogen).

So, the best choice for you depends on a number of things:  The plants
you're growing, the desired permanency of the mulch, the current
condition of your soil, the amount and regularity of your rainfall or
watering, and whether you find a few more weeds more objectionable than
spreading mulch.  Me, I hate to spread mulch.  I also hate to have
watered long and ***ly to put my fingers down through the mulch to
discover that none of it has penetrated to the soil.  And I *really*
hated it when, the day after they opened, all of the flowers on my
rhodendron had wilted because the roots growing in the mulch had dried
out.  So I pay the bucks and use pine bark.  In doing this I'm choosing
in large part to keep the mulching and adding-organics-to-the-soil
functions separate, so I do good soil preparation before planting.  

But I also know lots of folks who are well-satisfied with shredded wood;
I don't understand why since it doesn't work for me, but I know they are.

-Sue Sanders

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by kl.. » Tue, 12 Sep 1995 04:00:00


Quote:

> get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
> Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
> looks?

A:  $150.  Actually, the pine bark may last a bit longer than the
chippings, but not enough to make me invest.  The one thing I would
check is the source of the chippings.  If, for instance, they've
come from an orchard that was chipped because of disease, and I had
a bunch of the same species, I'd say no thanks.  But if it were
just general tree prunings, I'd take them in a flash.


 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Susan Sander » Wed, 13 Sep 1995 04:00:00



Quote:

>is any slope at all, Pine bark mulch comes from a "soft-wood" tree and
>tends to decompose fairly rapidly and (some say) will rob nitrogen from
>the soil to aid in the decomposition.  Mulched up trees are mostly
>hardwood trees and are heavier wood (don't float away as bad), hardwood

I have to disagree with this.  Bark breaks down more slowly than wood
does, and shredded trees will be whatever the tree company happens to be
shredding.  It could just as easily be pine as anything else, but the
wood, which will break down rapidly, rather than the bark.  Pine bark is
available in a number of sizes; shredded will break down more rapidly
than bark nuggets and small nuggets more rapidly than large ones.  I'm
also not convinced that hardwood versus softwood has much to do with it.
I would expect redwood and cedar to break down the slowest because of
their rot resistance, and they're both soft woods.
-Sue Sanders
 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Dwight Siple » Wed, 13 Sep 1995 04:00:00



Quote:
>.....Pine bark mulch comes from a "soft-wood" tree and
>tends to decompose fairly rapidly and (some say) will rob nitrogen from
>the soil to aid in the decomposition.......

It have heard that while the decomposition of cellulose requires
nitrogen, the byproducts of the decomposition retained the nitrogen, so
while there is a short term loss of nitrogen, in the long term the
nitrogen will still be there for the plants. What I don't know is what
the "short term" and "long term" refers to, i.e. is the short term
effect a couple of weeks or "only" one growing season? Anyone know more
about this?

Since nitrogen tends to be volatile in the soil, I would think the short
term effects are more important. Comments invited.

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Scoo » Wed, 13 Sep 1995 04:00:00


Thanks for the info -- I'm watching this discussion with much interest!
We havent decided -- yet!

Scott

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by J » Wed, 13 Sep 1995 04:00:00


: We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
: have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch, or
: get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
: Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
: looks?

the trees over time will decompose much faster than the bark which has
that gummy resin in it. lets say the the bark will be good for 6 years
and the trees for 3. the numbers I used might be way off , depending on
your conditions and the type of bark used.  I have used both in the past 2
years in the new garden. but to me $150 vs free is a no brainer. FREE WINS

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Nancy Dool » Wed, 13 Sep 1995 04:00:00


Quote:


>Subject: Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch
>Date: 11 Sep 1995 11:58:25 -0400
>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch, or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
>looks?
>Thx
>Scott

You can't use any evergreen mulch when it's fresh; it has to sit out and let
acids or whatever leach out of it for a season or two.  Someone else will
explain it better, but if you are using tree service mulch, it better be aged.

Nancy Dooley

"A cheerful look makes a dish a feast"...Herbert, Jacula Prudentum

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Christine A. Owen » Thu, 14 Sep 1995 04:00:00



Quote:

>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark
mulch, or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service
company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how
it
>looks?

>Thx
>Scott

Not really.  The pine bark mulch will take less time to decompose.

Chris Owens

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by CarolM53 » Thu, 14 Sep 1995 04:00:00




Quote:
>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch,
or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
>looks?

Been there, done that (free chipped up trees) ---- won't do it again!  Had
our very own trees (damaged in mini-tornado) chopped up; saw all that good
stuff and thought about all the ways we could use it. Had the tree people
dump the truck load at the back of the Garden and let it steam away for
weeks. When steaming stopped, went out and shoveled it into buckets to
distribute around paths etc.  Noticed dust coming out of the pile, sneezed
a few times.  Then, a week or so later got a chronic and severe and
unstoppable cough. To make a VERY long story short, the dust was mold
spores, I breathed it in and it took up permanent residence in my lungs; I
now have Allergic Bronchiopulmonary Aspergillosis and it is uncurable (in
a woman my age: 59) but treatable. It is the ONLY thing I am allergic to.
Uncommon thingie in any event, more likely amongst farmers who work in
barns. If you take the chipped woood - -- - be CAREFUL!!
 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by Maureen Smi » Thu, 14 Sep 1995 04:00:00


Quote:



>>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch,
>or
>>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
>>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
>>looks?

>Been there, done that (free chipped up trees) ---- won't do it again!

I agree!  I contacted my local utility company and had truck loads of "mulch
delivered FREE.  What a deal I thought, until the clippings began to
sprout -- the trees had been willows, and now I have hundres of willow
wanna-bes sprouting.  Racking the ***over wasn't enough, I had to
hand pick off the sprouts to keep from having a grove of willows
where I simply wanted mulch.  Also, I too, had the mould thing.

I only purchased aged, red fir chippings now.

Maureen

 
 
 

Pine Bark Mulch vs. Chopped Up Tree Mulch

Post by John Woodwor » Thu, 14 Sep 1995 04:00:00


Quote:

>We are going to be mulching around a lot of our trees, gardens etc and
>have a choice:  Pay $150 or whatever for a big load of pine bark mulch, or
>get a -free- truckload of mulched up trees from a tree service company.
>Question:  Is there any difference between using these other than how it
>looks?

I use both.

Chopped trees are inexpensive and break down very quickly. The pieces
also knot together and thus tend to stay put. Usually it is green wood,
so it tends to have a decay smell those first few weeks. After a month or
two, this mulch turns silvery. I use it around large shrubs where looks
are not important--like in the back or a shrub border. I believe my
plantings are the healthier for using this mulch. It goes a long way to
improve the soil and promotes more robust, greener plants.

Ask where you free mulch comes from! I got three loads this past spring.
I'm still pulling out willow, ***ia creeper and cottonwood "babies"
that rooted from the mulch. Also, it can be full of twigs. The overall
look is course and uneven.

The pine park looks much nicer, tends to last longer and, depending on
whether it is shredded or the nugget kind, packs down pretty well. I use
this around flower beds and foundation plantings near the house.

--

John

"The aristocracy of intellect admits nothing of democracy"

                                     -- Robertson Davies