One Less Worry

“One Less Worry”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

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Well, today, it  was back to work after having Thanksgiving week off.  I was surprised that it was not too difficult to get back in the work routine.  Maybe that was because I was able to get a great deal accomplished in the garden last week.

I was able to plant all the Baby Duck petunias, add compost to the garden, and rake up most of the yard of all the pine needles that had fallen.

The job that takes the longest is raking up the pine needles and then spreading them throughout the garden.  I use the pine needles as mulch in the garden beds and also in areas that are too shady for grass to grow.  I have learned from past experience to only rake up enough needles at one time that I can pick up.  Leaving piles of needles for the next day always results in at least one pile being forgotten and then a dead spot in the lawn.  A layer of pine needles won’t hurt the lawn, in fact if protects the grass from the cold, but a pile of needles will kill the grass in just two or three days.

The reason I like pine needle mulch so much is it is free (for me & makes up for all the shade from our pine trees), a nice color, and the needles stay fairly loose which improves the insulation quality of the mulch.  I was able to mulch all the front flower beds and will rake the back yard and mulch those beds next weekend.

Cold weather is predicted for tonight and then a warm up.  I am glad that I heavily mulched the gingers. callas, crinums, amaryllis, and agapanthus this weekend.  Even if the tops get frozen back, they will survive esp. if heavily mulched.  So, these mulched plants are one less worry I have with cold weather coming.

This week is turning out to be a very busy one, and it will not be so hectic now that I don’t have so many garden chores hanging over my head.

Cypress Mulch

This post, “Cypress Mulch” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Today I received a comment about cypress mulch, specifically about not using it.  Being from South Louisiana, I have known for some time about the problems with using cypress mulch.

 

With the slogan “Why kill a tree to grow a flower”, there are several groups trying to educate people to let them know that the cypress mulch that is sold today is not termite-resistant, and degrades the cypress wetlands which in turn worsens coastal erosion.  Thousands of acres of cypress are harvested just to produce mulch.  Very little is replanted and even if it is replanted most of the seedlings do not survive the first year.

 

These grand trees can live to be 1500 years old and be 150 feet tall and 25 feet in girth.  They are home to many birds and mammals.  Check out this site from Florida’s Suncoast Native Plant Society.  This site also tells about how cypress mulch  appears to have a high water-retention ability which may reduce the amount of moisture available to plants.

 

This site from the National Wildlife Federation explains how the cutting of cypress trees is destroying the Gulf Coast’s coastline and doing more damage which makes us even more vulnerable to hurricanes like Katrina, not to mention the devastation to wildlife (60% of all US bird species pass through the swampy forests of the Gulf Coast). 

 

Both of these sites give alternatives for mulch for gardeners to use instead of Cypress.

 

This is a very serious issue.  Florida has been trying to educate people for years and now other states and organizations have joined the effort.  Wal-mart and Lowes have even agreed not to sell cypress mulch.  For more information, check out these two sites:

http://www.saveourcypress.org/

http://waterkeeper.org/mainarticledetails.aspx?articleid=255

 I believe that the statement by Bana Malik in his comment is true that “Our gardeners hold the key. We believe that gardeners must know the truth about cypress mulch, and will stop using cypress mulch when presented with the facts.”  So please think twice before using cypress mulch.