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Posted: Apr/16/2009 4:25 PM PST
I am a newbie member and live just outside Toronto Canada, hardiness zone 5b or 5a depending on the winter we've had.
My son does almost all of the gardening as I am disabled. We had a major weed problem in my front beds and last summer I decided it was time for mulch to control the weeds especially around my roses.
We purchased landscape fabric and cedar mulch and proceeded to cover all of the beds with both during September 2008. This spring the mulch looks a little flat but at least the weeds aren't coming up before the daffodils.
We had a strange winter this year and and all of our snow fell between November and mid January and the temperature has been slightly above freezing during the day, since then, which is extremely unusual. The daffodils and hyacinths are only just showing their sprouts now which is late. The rose bushes are starting to bud but there is no sign of the peonies starting yet.
I have been reading the information here and found that we shouldn't have done the mulching until the spring as well as several other things we may have done wrong.
I have a couple of questions for you kind people after reading:
1. should the mulch and fabric be removed to turn the beds as usual or just left as is?
2. Do we stir the mulch with a rake or some other tool or just leave it flat?
3. Should we expose the stalks of the plants so the ground can warm up I think this may be why the daffodils are so late?
4. Is there anything we should do to ensure the plants grow as they normally do?
5. We have two bags of cedar mulch left from last summer, should we take precautions when opening it and spreading it? (I read about some gases that may have built up in the mulch)
As I am new to any kind of mulching and my son is not really a gardener, I would appreciate any and all help you can give me.
Thanks to all
Posted: Apr/16/2009 6:07 PM PST
Just leave your beds as they are. This will be a learning experience for you this year. It will give you time to see just what will be coming up perhaps through the cloth. We all have these times in our gardens.
The mulch will actually keep the ground warmer for your plants.
I am not experienced with cedar mulch. If you think there is a problem. Open the bags and let them air out before putting them down. You might wait to put the mulch down until after your plants have all come up.
Good Luck with you garden. You have a great son to help you with your gardens.
Posted: Apr/17/2009 11:57 AM PST
Thanks yardgranny for helping me . Last year I should have read the forum rather than just the guides before we went ahead with the landscape fabric and mulch. I would have known we should have waited until the ground froze. But what is done is done.
In the forum someone also mentioned that the fabric and mulch should be pulled back from around the plants to allow the water to get through to the roots. I'm not certain if that is necessary because the landscape fabric is supposed to be very porous.
The reason I mentioned the still packaged mulch and the gases was someone also mentioned that as the mulch sits in its bags it creates some very toxic gases as it decomposes. I was a little concerned about opening the bags now, but I guess spreading it out will release the gases and my son should just take precautions so he doesn't breathe anything in.
Location: West of Salem, OR on the W. edge of the Willamette
Posted: Apr/20/2009 11:25 AM PST
I've no experience with cedar mulch either. Here in OR we get lots of bark mulch, though. Both fir and Hemlock. Both will batter down during the winter from the rain. For me its a matter of aesthetics to rake some that are visible and leave others that can't be seen alone.
The landscape fabric should let water pass to your plant's roots unless the mulch is very compacted. A little surface scratching might give you the peace of mind that water is getting where its needed.