Wanting to understand mulch


Sounds good, I will take note not to apply too much. I have learned (from this site) that soil too nutrient rich can be a problem. I mistakenly assumed that improving the soil to a very high level was the trick to producing good fruit.

Now I occaisionally fertilize my trees and they grow very slow but I am sure our cold zone plays into that. If I put the manure under the trees ( they have not all fruited yet) I will make sure no fertilizer is applied in the spring unless the tree tells me it needs something.


Your conditions are so different than mine that you should take anything I suggest with a grain of salt.


I will. I do appreciate expert advice from the members on this forum. My conditions are different, but we all need a starting point, and the best place to start is with information from those who have had success.


Well, I do have 50 years of experience with many types of mulch. For years I mulched with whatever I could scavenge- now I use mostly commercial mulch in commercial quantity.


My woodchips are finally getting moist from the snow melt. This should get the pile of chips working with bacteria and fungus next spring. I piled the new chips on the old woodchip pile since many organisms to break them down are already there. There are 2-3 big utility truck loads of chips in the pile.


Are there any concerns over getting mulch (from any source) that has walnut trimmings/leaves/whatever included?


It is a concern, yes, but not a deal-breaker. Although many plants are susceptible to jugulone, many plants are relatively unaffected, to include most fruit trees. In addition, composting the material for 6 months should break the jugulone substance down enough where it should not be a concern.

Here is an article from the Iowa extension that covers the topic in more detail. Hope that helps.


Thanks for the link and response. I asked only because juglone eventually killed (my anecdotal observation anyway) several pears and apples on my old place. Fortunately, there are none growing on this place or in the area. They were like weeds on my old place in southcentral WI. When I researched juglone back then, it seemed like there was a lot of conflicting information available. I’d read one state’s extension that would say plant “X” was resistant to juglone, then find another state’s extension saying that same plant may be killed or negatively impacted by juglone. From what I could determine, soil type has a lot to do with whether susceptible species will be impacted by juglone or not. Heavier soils seemed more likely to have and maintain higher levels of juglone than lighter/sandier soils.


Yes, I understand your concerns. I’ve gotten some wood chips from other places and I’ve always composted them down some before using it.

Only if I’ve shredded it myself and know what it is am I comfortable using it fresher.


I’ve used green coarse hardwood sawdust from a firewood business ,for 7 yrs. around my trees and under my bushes with no nitrogen deficiency. I’ve even tilled it into my clay compacted soil in the fall to loosen it up and had great growth come spring. i put 3in. of this sawdust every spring and by the following spring theres barely any left. i just lay on more compost and top dress another 3in. of sawdust. dig down a few in. its nice black soil full of worms! i barely have to water. cedar is good at keeping weeds and bugs at bay but i did notice that it does stunt growth some. esp. if you mulch heavy with it and use it year after year.