Wood chip mulch in orchard?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cc-rider, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Is there any reason NOT to mulch my entire orchard with wood chips? Would that cause any problems? For instance, holding too much moisture, or sapping the nutrients as they decompose?

    I just started an orchard in the middle of a bare field and I hate the thought of planting grass in there and then having to mow it.
     
  2. HiouchiDump

    HiouchiDump Well-Known Member

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    Wood chips are often recommended for orchards, since they hold in moisture and help to insulate the roots. Obviously, you just don't want to use any diseased wood that could end up communicating fungus or infestation to your healthy trees.
     

  3. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You might want to compost some of the wood chips especially those going directly under the trees. There would be more nutrients in composted chips, along with beneficial fungi. The problem that I could forsee with using them everywhere in the orchard is the lack of a friendly environment for beneficial insects.
     
  4. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    you can also keep all vegatation away from the base of the tree w/ mulch like grass clippings, compost or chippings (no moisture competition) and then inbetween rows plant a legume like alfalfa, clover, lespadesa for nitrogen. When the trees are bigger you can run livestock in the orchard for fetilizer. gives you another "crop" instead of just the orchard.
     
  5. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Unrotted mulch in particular will "rob" the soil of nitrogen, so you may want to consider added nitrogen in the fert program.
    Cedar may cause toxicity problems, I'm not sure though.
    In winter I highly recommend pulling the mulch away from the tree trunks as voles/mice will chew the trunks, they enjoy living in the insulated mulch.
    Overall- mulch is wonderful for trees- for keeping roots moist through droughts, keeping weed competition down- etc.