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David Humphries

To Mulch, or not to Mulch?

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I've only seen it used once. Was on a privet hedge that was dying. The hedge fully recovered and became a picture of health. There was a similar product marketed called 'Bray's Emulsion which was phenol based as, I think, is Armillatox?

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phenol based as is Armillatox?

 

Graham,

Armillatox is a pesticide, i.e. an environmental friendly herbicide, fungicide and insecticide of which the ingredients - apart from soap - are kept a secret, performing miracles if you believe what the producer claims on his website.

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Not sure you can keep the smell of coal tars a secret:001_smile:

 

As I remember the Bray's emulsion was a copy of Armillatox and that also was described as a cure all.

 

Reminds me of the Medicine Shows of the wild west...yee haa

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Are there any papers/studies on long(er) term success of fresh vs old woodchip mulch that anyone knows of, particularly on vet trees, or trees where compaction isn't necessarily the problem, eg ground that was grazed/mown but is now long grass?

Also I wonder if applying mulch to a field/pasture grown tree could adversely affect the mycorhizea already present? Eg. are some mycos happy in grass land situations, and some in woodland/mulched environments?

If this is the case could upsetting the present balance cause (short term?) problems, as new myco associations have to compete with one another until a new balance is reached?

Or is it the case that a mature root system can benefit from having multiple myco sp associating with it? Maybe woodland mycos on roots under mulch to the drip-line and field mycos further out?

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Are there any papers/studies on long(er) term success of fresh vs old woodchip mulch that anyone knows of, particularly on vet trees, or trees where compaction isn't necessarily the problem, eg ground that was grazed/mown but is now long grass?

Also I wonder if applying mulch to a field/pasture grown tree could adversely affect the mycorhizea already present? Eg. are some mycos happy in grass land situations, and some in woodland/mulched environments?

If this is the case could upsetting the present balance cause (short term?) problems, as new myco associations have to compete with one another until a new balance is reached?

Or is it the case that a mature root system can benefit from having multiple myco sp associating with it? Maybe woodland mycos on roots under mulch to the drip-line and field mycos further out?

 

To answer your question, one has to distuingish between trees associating with endomycorrhizal microfungi, that also associate with grasses and herbs (competition for nutrients and minerals) and trees that only associate with ectomycorrhizal macrofungi.

And whatever mulch you introduce, it can be incompatible with and disturb the balance within the soil food web and cause a lack of oxygen in the soil killing the symbionts first and then the roots when the layer is too think and/or too dense. Besides, rhizomorphs can use mulch as a medium to move towards the tree roots and base while feeding on the wood chips.

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