View Full Version : Mulch

01-22-2004, 09:56 PM
I'm working on a native garden in my backyard. I have read that the only suitable mulch is shredded redwood bark (gorilla hair). However, I can't find anywhere near me to buy it. In the past I have used cocoa mulch mixed with organic compost. Seems to work fine, but maybe there is something better. Or maybe no mulch at all might be better.

Feel free to email me. Thanks.

01-25-2004, 10:12 PM
I have found redwood mulch to be by far the best - especially the leaching of tannins that occurs when the mulch is watered from above. Natives seem to love it and the weeds hate it, in general. If you are unable to find it, clean arborist tree trimmings work ok, as long as there are no weeds, grass clippings, palms, succulents, or trash. You might run into a problem with cocoa mulch/compost long term because of its high nitrogen content, which tends to create a bacterial based ecology and can make the plants unstable. Hope this helps.

02-04-2004, 12:10 PM
Thanks for the reply.
Won't any organic mulch ultimately lead to bacteria growth? I thought that was good. I guess I can see how different types of mulch will cause different types and amounts of bacteria to grow. So my real question is if you had to choose between organic compost as mulch and no mulch at all, what would you chose???
I've heard of people using redwood mulch in Northern California. Is it the best choice in Southern California? (Not to mention I can't find it here in So. Cal.) I wonder if there isn't a more indiginous type of mulch? Would it make sense to compost native plants? Or maybe I'd be better off grinding or chipping (unwanted) native plants and using that as mulch.

09-07-2004, 12:13 PM
Many So. Cal natives have evolved to low nutrient soil conditions. Adding too many extra nutrients to the soil (ie: using compost as a mulch) will encourage exotic, nutrient hungry weeds rather than our more abstemious natives.

I would use an indigenous mulch (good luck on finding it). Otherwise clean arborist mulch does the trick for me. Both of these options are preferable to compost as mulch or bare soil

09-08-2004, 06:52 PM
I've been using gorilla hair here in San Diego pretty exclusively for the last 5 years (~150 native landscapes). I do understand about the availablility problem, but more and more places are carrying it now. Shredded redwood is the closest thing to shredded chaparral that I've come across, the later being somewhat difficult to find (fortunately). It's key feature is that it breaks down over 7-10 years, which doesn't load up the site with nutrition. This long-term stability seems to really help the native plant community. Clean arborist trimmings are your next best alternative, the best being chipped oak and/or pine.