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Organic Gardening: adding compost to a bed having bark or such on top

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Forum: Organic GardeningReplies: 5, Views: 82
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(Zone 4b)

June 7, 2012
5:26 AM

Post #9155471

I am sure I am missing something obvious but if one uses bark or similar 'harder' material as a weed suppressor and moisture retainer then how does one amend the soil below with such material on top?

Does one need to pull back the bark (for e.g.) away from the base of the plant and 'sprinkle' compost or other such good stuff and then re position top mulch? Just wondering the mechanics of it all.


Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2012
5:18 AM

Post #9156732

Top dress by applying it right over the top of the bark. If the compost is 'finished' and you want to incorporate, it would be best to rake up the bark, incorporate the finished compost, and remulch with the bark. Layering it over the bark is easier. It will speed the breakdown of the bark, too, offering additional benefit.


(Zone 4b)

June 8, 2012
6:34 AM

Post #9156798

tapla wrote:Top dress by applying it right over the top of the bark.

I would think that top dressing over top of the bark will allow for the easier germination of weeds (ie they can establish themselves in the compost above the bark).


Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2012
11:10 AM

Post #9157049

You're probably right. I assumed, since there are a limited number of options (3?), all of which are pretty simple & straightforward and all of which have their +/- as viewed from your own perspective, that you'd reason through it and select the option that best suits your goal(s). Had you mentioned whether 'easier on you in the end' or 'what's best for the plants' was the priority, it might have been easier to be more direct and include some additional ramifications.

Best luck.

Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

June 11, 2012
4:33 AM

Post #9160127

My 2 cents: Down here I use a combo of shredded native hardwood mixed with compost as a "living" mulch however when amending with straight compost I pull back the top mulch and scratch it in then pull the top mulch back over the bed. Quality finished compost is chocked full of beneficial microbes and nutrients - they need to be incorporated in the soil or at least applied to the soil surface and recovered with mulch to retain the moisture they need to carry out their job. Happy Gardening!
Louisville, KY

June 17, 2012
12:09 PM

Post #9168842

This is my first year using bark chips as a mulch. Last February I mulched my roses with chipped bark...I have never had such beautiful roses. I once met an accomplished rosarian who had mulched with chips for years. He highly reccomended it.. They are light and easy to spread. I can get my little truck full for 12.50.

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