Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

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Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

Postby Pixies » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:34 pm

Having just put new compost down around all my new trees/shrubs ive noticed (im a first time gardener!) weeds are popping up all over the place! At the moment im just pinching them up rather than using weed killer as these trees are so new I dont want to risk killing any of them, but im realising I may need something more maintenence free to keep it looking good.

Ive read online all about Mulch and how it can actually help the soil underneath etc but most importantly stop weeds!
What I am getting confused about is what to put 'underneath' - ive read plastic bags with holes in, newspaper and the preferred special garden breathable sheets??

I prefer the look of the 'slate chippings' as opposed to the mulch - could anyone reccomend if I use these Slate Chippings:
a) with the weed sheets underneath as well, will my 'trees' get enough water???
b) will it definatly stop the weeds?
c) will it therefore be low maintenence?

I have a lot of palm trees/conifers.
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Re: Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

Postby cloudyeyes » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:11 pm

Yes, weeds have this really annoying habit of popping up all over the place!

Mulching helps to keep moisture in the soil and, depending on what you use as mulch, when they break down they can improve the soil structure - things like straw, manure, grass clippings, shredded paper etc. You wouldn't usually put these on top of anything except other things that break down too like newspaper or cardboard.

However, these aren't very pretty. If you want a more or less permanent and attractive finish then something like slate/pebbles/gravel/bark on top of weed suppressing membrane will do the trick. Weed membrane allows the soil to breath and allows water to pass through. Don't use plastic - it will get foul and slimy underneath. Don't run the membrane right up to the stems/trunks of your plants - leave a circle of bare soil around and keep watering your plants until they become established and are better able to take care of themselves.

Alternatively, get yourself a hoe (much the cheapest option) and have a hoe around once a week. Only takes a few minutes to stay on top of them.
cloudyeyes
 

Re: Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

Postby appledore » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:24 pm

I think it's easier just to leave the soil bare and give it the occasional hoe. When we've put mulch on our flower beds the birds throw it off when they're looking for insects, and make an awful mess.
Keep calm and carry on.
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Re: Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

Postby Pixies » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:37 am

Thanks.
Yes I think I do prefer the 'slate' option, with the membrane underneath. The trees have been in a few weeks now and seem to be doing well. I'll leave it a little longer then put these sheets down leaving a circle around the roots and then the slate/gravel ontop.
How big of a circle around the root's should I leave roughly?
Would I need to water the trees more than usual so the water does go through or does it drain well into the soil anyway?

I had put gravel around my palms which are in large pots anyway but without the membrane back then and I can see even the weeds are popping up in there, I thought just gravel would do the trick :roll:
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Re: Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

Postby Rowan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:11 am

I use bark over a permeable membrane under the shurbs in my front garden - it goes right up to the trunks and there has never been any problems with water getting to the roots

Newly planted trees need extra water - there are fancy systems to provide a water route to the roots (did I really type THAT!! :roll: ) - but I find a plastic bottle, bottom removed, placed upsidedown in the soil next to the trunk is an easy way of getting water where it's needed (and no evaporation)

Bark cover should be nice and deep - use twice as much as you think you will need so that the membrane doesn't show through - weeds will root in the bark (and sometimes mushrooms grow too!) but are easily tweaked out as they don't get into the soil underneath

Mrs Blackbird does enjoy searching out insects etc and twitches the bark about, sometimes onto the grass - but it is easy to sweep back every so often - depends how much of a neat freak you are :lol:

My bird-feeding station is planted in a big tub of rubble, topped with membrane then gravel - as you can imagine seeds get scattered from the feeders and germinate in the damp gravel - again they are easy to pull out as they don't get to form a root ball in soil - sometimes I leave the 'prettier' ones to grow on for a while :P - the same goes for slate
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Re: Slate Chippings Vs Mulch???

Postby appledore » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:29 pm

Rowan wrote:IMrs Blackbird does enjoy searching out insects etc and twitches the bark about, sometimes onto the grass - but it is easy to sweep back every so often - depends how much of a neat freak you are :lol:



I admit I'm a neat freak. I like everything tidy in the house and in the garden. :lol:
Keep calm and carry on.
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