Tag Archives: Soil

Are the RHS and Defra BARKING up the wrong tree

Chapter 2

Bark Mulch

What is  Bark  Mulch 

English: Aged mulch of coarse home compost Cat...

 Bark mulch is a byproduct of the forestry industry, making use of the bark stripped off timber that is being milled for lumber such as two-by-fours. Bark and green waste such as wood chips and branches are collected into a huge pile. The material is then put through a chipper to break everything down into similar sized pieces. The chipped green waste is then processed in an aeration system or compost plant. The material is then partially composted. This begins the decomposition process of the material so that it is already on its way to forming a nutrient-rich mulch for gardens and landscapes. Once the composting stage is complete, the bark mulch is processed through a screening plant Bark mulch comes in several shapes and sizes two of the most popular is the general Amenity mulch made from processed mixed conifers to the rich small nuggets of the pine mulch.


Contractors Turf

Pine bark mulch.

This According to Malcourt or neat, small nuggets giving you that deluxe and high performance and that rich reddish brown.Like all bark mulches it’s is biodegradable which mean over time it will slowly rot down into the soil to give it fiber and carbon.As  there are no  nutrients in  the  bark  itself  despite  what  other  tell  you   As  this  pdf  will  tell  you  bellow

Melcourt Soil ameliorates, compost and Topsoil Product Specification Guide

Also, another thing to bare in mind is that all bark mulches are very acidic –  I know from experience that my clients call me out when they have the  ‘  Butcher  Squad  ‘ there words not mine been cutting and chopping trees down and spreading the wood chips everywhere without knowing the consequences.

I come over and see plants dying cause of it.  So if you want to Pine  Bark Mulch or Any  Amenity Mulch down think where you are going to put  first.

Advantages  of Pine  Bark  Mulch


  • It is like  CocoPeat  it  biodegradable    over  a  period  of  3  yrs
  • It’s not  porous  &  that  means  it soaks up  moisture   like  a  sponge   and benefits the plant’s roots  –  this  can  also  be  a  bad  thing  which I will  tell  you  later  on  how  to  work  around  this
  • it’s a  natural  local  source  product
  • Pine  Bark  Mulch  because  of its colour  its  naturally   appealing
  • Pine Bark  Mulch or  any  mulch, in fact, deters  slugs  and  snails

Disadvantages of  using Bark  Mulch 

  • Some bark mulches may be toxic to young plants, particularly if the bark is fresh or if it has been improperly stockpiled. Toxins can be leached from the bark by heavy watering or evaporated by thorough aeration.Bark mulches are most likely to cause damage to plants if the mulch particles are small, if the mulch is particularly deep, or if high proportions of plant roots are in the surface layer of the soil.
  • If the heap is still fresh, ie in the state of decomposition then the nitrates its produces will kill of the fine root hairs or in other cases it will cause nitrogen rubbery. Best  to  make  sure  that the  pile  is  well  &  fully  decomposed  or  buy  it  from a referable  supplier like  Melcourt
  • Make sure that any Free bark chips are free from pathogens first check your source – although you might get along with your neighbor or arbor the wood might pass the pathogens on to your stock.  You  wouldn’t  put  any  wood  chipping  that  came  from  your  tree  that  been  infected with your  new  stock  so  why  would  you  do  it  on  your  trees
  1. However  with  this  new  method  of  renewing  the  source  another  way  which  is  called  biochar  –  this  I  will  explain  in  chapter  3

Finally, I  come  to  the    Bark  Compost

Bark Compost

What is bark Compost 

Bark Compost is a renewable resource and is one of the most widely used components in commercial container media, although barks from many other species are also processed for this purpose.Bark particles used in container media generally range in size from dustlike to about 3/8 inch in diameter.




  • Bark lacks the moisture-holding capacity of peat moss, There  fore  its  free draining &  like  Biochar & coir  its  needs  to  pre-soaked  for  about  a  day
  • As  I mentioned above bark alone holds no nutrients at all. So best either mix it up with your compost or buy it from the store that has it already mixed in
  • but it can dramatically increase the porosity of a mix.


  •   Bark  cause  of  its  size, when mixed with another medium, will  increase  the  porosity  of  the  compost
  • It is  biodegrable  &  therefore  old  compost  can  be  put  into  compost  heaps to later  be  dug  into  the  ground
  • If  its  mixed  with  shredded  leaves  in  autumn  and  placed  in  a  OPEN compost container the fungi that break down the chipping rot the down the leaves too  to  make  leaf  mould  –  The  purpose  of  the  Open  container is to allow air flow through the compost and moisture from  the  rain  or  dew  to  activate  the  heap.

fungi  don’t  need  heat  to  live  only  the  damp  and  wet   conditions  like  a  typical  autumnal  day not  like  grass  cutting  that  need a  dry  condition  to  generate  heat

A successful container   potting medium  must  :-

  •  a stable reservoir of moisture and nutrients and remain loose enough to allow for root development, water movement and the exchange of gases in the root zone.
  • A growing medium must also have a pH (a measure of the alkalinity or acidity of a medium) that can support adequate nutrient uptake,
  • Be  virtually  sterile
  • Be  neutral  in  PH  depending  on  the  plant
  • The  Medium  should  supply  a  good  anchorage  and  support  for  the  roots
  • must  be  heavy  enough  to  allow  anchorage


.If you have a good mix, water will penetrate it quickly and drain freely from the bottom of the pot. When the excess water has drained away, air will fill the large pore spaces, but enough water will be retained in the smaller spaces to provide ample moisture for the plant. In a poor mix, water may be slow to penetrate, the medium will become heavy and waterlogged, and a crust from algae or accumulated salts may form on the surface. Under these conditions, the roots become starved for oxygen, plant growth slows, foliage may begin to yellow, and plants often succumb to root rot.


With  this  taken  on  board  I would  definitely  choose  a  coir  based  compost  cause  with    bark  there  are  so  many  variables  either  you  over  water  or  you  under  water  etc

At least Coco Peat is sterile so there less chance of getting soil-borne diseases than bark so there are fewer things to worry about.  Of course, its  got to be mixed and  soaked  before  hand   for  it  be  any  benefit

Well  that’s  My  say  what  yours




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Autumn Lawn Care

Autumn  Feeding.

For  Autumn   the   care  regime  is  basically   promoting  healthy  root  growth. This  achieved  by  firstly   feeding  the  grass  with  a  propriety   lawn food  and  spreading  the  fertilizer  by  the  use   a  hooper  as  in  the  Spring and  Summer  regime.
But this time the fertilizer contains a high percentage of phosphate to encourage root growth. It also  contains   a  iron  oxide  which  is  moss  killer  so  it  best  to  wait  till  the  moss  turns  black  before   raking  it  a  final  time.

The  other  thing  to  do  now  is  to  encourage   air  and  good  drainage    around  the  roots.This  is  achieved  by   using  a   mechanical  hollow  tine   machine  on  large areas
Or  a  manual  method see pictures  below


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These  will  leave  a  rather  untidy  holes  in  the    ground  which  would  after   then  filled  with   lawn  top  dressing  and  worked  into  the  ground    using  a   lute  or  a   still  broom.

You  should  never  leave  the  holes  open   cause  if  you  walk  over  it  you  will  close  the  holes  and  thus  defeating  the  object.

Then the ground is best  left.To weather in the top soil over winter and come in the spring new shoots should  appear

I’m  recently  looking  into  other  ways  organically   using  worms  and  leaf  mulch  thus  saving  the  time  and  money  on  hiring  equipment  out