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David Humphries

To Mulch, or not to Mulch?

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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?

 

 

regarding the mycorhizea I have always felt that its better to have a litter layer as large as possible and leave the drip line out for the other mycos, roots go well beyond dripline.

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regarding the mycorhizea I have always felt that its better to have a litter layer as large as possible and leave the drip line out for the other mycos, roots go well beyond dripline.

 

Just as long as the mulch or litter layer comes from the same (community of) tree species as the introduced mulch or woodchips originates from. And then there's the difference in litter production and recycling speed between different tree species to consider.

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Just as long as the mulch or litter layer comes from the same (community of) tree species as the introduced mulch or woodchips originates from. And then there's the difference in litter production and recycling speed between different tree species to consider.

 

I find that the breakdown is dependant more on the longevity and depth of the mulch bed, once its been done annualy for five years or more its really starting to rock and deep layers will be but shards by the following treatment a year later.:thumbup1:

 

And those Corprinopsis picaceus where fruiting on a deep freshish layer of beech chip, and thriving on it:thumbup1:

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1. I find that the breakdown is dependant more on the longevity and depth of the mulch bed, once its been done annualy for five years or more its really starting to rock and deep layers will be but shards by the following treatment a year later.

2. And those Corprinopsis picaceus where fruiting on a deep freshish layer of beech chip, and thriving on it

 

Tony,

1. Did you research and monitor the effect of these unnatural mulch layers on the presence or absence of mycelia and/or fruiting of generalistic as opposed to tree species specific ectomycorrhizal symbionts as the outcome of decreasing levels of soil oxygen and increasing levels of soil nitrogen caused by (too) fast litter and woodchip decomposition ?

2. Sure, and not to my surprise as C. picaceus is a a tree species specific litter recycling saprotrophic species reacting on the availability of abnormal quantities of "food".

Edited by Fungus

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Tony,

1. Did you research and monitor the effect of these unnatural mulch layers on the presence or absence of mycelia and/or fruiting of generalistic as opposed to tree species specific ectomycorrhizal symbionts as the outcome of decreasing levels of soil oxygen and increasing levels of soil nitrogen caused by (too) fast litter and woodchip decomposition ?

2. Sure, and not to my surprise as C. picaceus is a a tree species specific litter recycling saprotrophic species reacting on the availability of abnormal quantities of "food".

 

we need your work here Gerrit! I believe it could fast track a lot of research.:thumbup1:

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Don't think it's banned in the Uk.

 

Though possibly it should be.

 

I think it sells here mainly to Gardeners as a path cleaner.

 

 

 

.

 

Not sure about that, I was pretty sure it was withdrawn a couple of years ago.

Apologies, it seems it was withdrawn as a pesticide and re branded as a "soap based cleaner".

Sounds dodgy to me.

Edited by Treecreeper1961

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Fungus, in a nutshell, mulching a veteran field grown tree - good or bad? Mulching to combat compaction - good or bad?

Be very interested in your views please...

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1. mulching a veteran field grown tree - good or bad?

2. Mulching to combat compaction - good or bad?

 

1. What tree species : associated with ectomycorrhizal symbionts such as Quercus, Fagus, Tilia or Castanea or associated with endomycorrhizal microfungi such as Fraxinus or Ulmus ? With what type of mulch and is it compatible with the soil food web ?

2. Could be good to combat compaction, could be bad at the same time because of diminishing soil oxygen and increasing soil nitrogen levels.

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So there is, like many natural systems, no nutshell! Is it something which, in some situations, you would promote? Or do you feel it changes the rooting environment too much too quickly? And when faced with a mature tree in decline would you explore other options, after exploring the root cause of the decline of course?

Would be a good long term project for someone with the funds, time and trees to study further. I suppose the trouble with obtaining reliable and useful data would be the massive amount of difficult or impossible to control variables. Would need variation of tree species, variations of mulch - fresh/rotted, local/mixed, with leaves/without, time of year applied, depth applied. Monitoring of increase in Armillaria rhizomorphs, and their ability to invade the more/less stressed tree, which the mulch may help or worsen. Recording volume of roots and mycorhizea present before/after mulch. Recording which mycos species are present before/after mulch. Maybe recording the chlorophyl levels in the leaves at different times of year for mulched/non mulched, before during after. Taking account of other stresses such as drought. I'm sure there are other issues with such a project, hmm, the more I think about it the more massive a task it would be! :eek:

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So there is, like many natural systems, no nutshell! Is it something which, in some situations, you would promote? Or do you feel it changes the rooting environment too much too quickly? And when faced with a mature tree in decline would you explore other options, after exploring the root cause of the decline of course?

Would be a good long term project for someone with the funds, time and trees to study further. I suppose the trouble with obtaining reliable and useful data would be the massive amount of difficult or impossible to control variables. Would need variation of tree species, variations of mulch - fresh/rotted, local/mixed, with leaves/without, time of year applied, depth applied. Monitoring of increase in Armillaria rhizomorphs, and their ability to invade the more/less stressed tree, which the mulch may help or worsen. Recording volume of roots and mycorhizea present before/after mulch. Recording which mycos species are present before/after mulch. Maybe recording the chlorophyl levels in the leaves at different times of year for mulched/non mulched, before during after. Taking account of other stresses such as drought. I'm sure there are other issues with such a project, hmm, the more I think about it the more massive a task it would be! :eek:

 

indeed! until thats done where compaction and vitality are low I will continue to recommend mulching

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