Mulch and Mulching
from the DC Urban Gardens web site
visit their site at www.dc-urban-gardeners.com
- Suppress weeds
- Prevent drying out of soil
- Prevent erosion
- Reduce compaction of soil
- Moderate soil temperature
- Prevent mud splatter on plant and hard surfaces, like your house
- Add nutrients to soil, plus enable the soil to better use soil nutrients from any source
- Increase the populations of earthworm and beneficial soil microbes.
- Make gardens look well kept and amenable to planting – like gardens.
- Every year, when soil has warmed, which is midspring in most of North America, earlier in hotter places.Â Gardeners in colder climates often do their mulching in the fall, however, to prevent soil heaving through the winter months of freezing and thawing. More mulch can be added in the spring, as needed.
- AND immediately after disturbing the soil, especially for planting something.
- AND to cover bare ground at any time.
Â HOW MUCH
- If it’s on top of a layer of compost, add 2 inches. More can be added as that breaks down over the season.
- If it’s not on top of compost, use 2-3 inches, maximum.
- Too much mulch will keep moisture out, keep the soil from warming up in spring, and harbor pests, especially slugs.
- Sunny spots need more mulch than shady ones
- Remove weeds
- Loosen top of soil (a tool called the cultivator does this job very quickly), incorporating what’s left of the old mulch into the soil as you do it.
- Water well.
- Never mulch on top of plants or have mulch touching their stems and most important of all, don’t pile it up against tree trunks.Â (They’re calledÂ mulch volcanoes and though common, they’re horrible for tree health!)
- And avoid putting mulch against your house, unless you’re trying to attract termites.
- Where: 900 New Jersey Avenue, S.E. (NJ and K)
- When: the website says it won’t be available til March 1, Mondays through Saturdays from 7 to 3. BUT a recent phone call indicated it’s available NOW (January 2008) and the hours are 6:30 to 5.Â So you might want to CALL FIRST (202/447-4257 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 202/447-4257Â Â Â Â Â Â end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
- How much mulch?Â You’re allowed to fill up to 3 30-gallon bags that you bring yourself.
- Larger amount needed?Â For neighborhood beautification projects and other larger needs, call 202/447-4257 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 202/447-4257Â Â Â Â Â Â end_of_the_skype_highlighting to make arrangements.
- Here’s the city’s press release on the subject.
- What exactly is it?Â Just shredded leaves, or are have they decomposed, and how much?Â If you’ve seen this stuff, tell us!Â (In the comment section below).
- It’s free for pick up by anyone.Â Go to their Department of Public Works at 31 Oswego Avenue, easy to find from Piney Branch Road or East-West Highway – the Mapquest site is correct for this address.Â Across the street from their office building is a big mulch pile – just helip yourself, 24/7.Â Bring your own pitchfork (the very best tool for the job) and containers.
- They’ll deliver for a charge on Fridays from 8:30 to 3:30 beginning March 30 and ending when the supply is depleted.Â Call Public Works to schedule a delivery at (301) 891-7615 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (301) 891-7615Â Â Â Â Â Â end_of_the_skype_highlighting.Â Payment (check or money order only) for delivery must be mailed and received by Thursday afternoon at the Public Works Department, 31 Oswego Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20910.Â The website says, “Mulch deliveries will be made to your driveway only.” then goes on to say “If you do not have a driveway, special arrangements for delivery must be arranged through the Public Works Department.”
- Resident prices for delivery are 3 cubic yards for $45; 7 or 10 cubic yards for $65.
- Nonresident prices for delivery are 3 cubic yards for $65; 7 or 10 cubic yards for $105.
- Your dump truck can also be loaded for a fee of $20 for a small truck and $30 for a large truck. Call Public Works to schedule loading at 301-891-7633 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 301-891-7633Â Â Â Â Â Â end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
- Screened compost (called “Smartleaf”) looks like fine black soil and is used to improve the soil, less frequently as a mulch (because it’s an excellent growing medium for wind-blown weed seeds, and also because it looks like soil, not a soil cover).Â It’s made of leaves and grass clippings (which provides needed nitrogen for top-grade compost).Â It cost $15 per cubic yard.
- Unscreened “compost” is what others would call mulch. It has a little debris in it and is of a coarser grade, but it’s still great for use either on top of soil as a mulch or IN soil as an amendment. It’s free (up to 5 cubic yards) to College Park residents and $7 per cubic yard to nonresidents.
- Wood chips are great for paths or other nongrowing areas and cost $5 per cubic yard.
- Hours for pickup are M-F from 7:30am-11:30am and 1:00-3:30pm.Â They can load pickup trucks (with no cap) for no charge. Customers can also bring their own containers and a shovel/pitchfork if they donâ€™t have a truck. Everyone must stop in at the main office before entering the Public Works yard.
- Delivery: charges start at $20.
- Call 301/474-4194Â Â Â