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I take all the junk mail and newspapers that come to our home and shred it and use it for mulch in my garden. It is very colorful and works great. I will run it through the shredder or let my grandkids cut the paper up. They have a really good time cutting and spreading.
Do not grab handfuls of mulch. Dump it out on the ground and rake through it. They have found snakes (copper heads) and other critters in the mulch still alive.
By Kelly from Lexington, KY
My friends are always admiring my flower garden, but can't seem to get theirs to grow. Here goes the only key to a happy garden in the south and other hot places - mulch, mulch, mulch, and water!
But under the mulch, I add an old sheet, blanket or piece of material before I put my mulch down. No, I don't buy the store bought kind of stuff, because the ones I mentioned are less expensive and easier to work with. An old sheet will last for 2 - 3 years and the store bought stuff tears apart because, in the fall, I turn over the whole thing and put new leaves, straw, bark, or mulch on the same material.
Putting the new mulch on top of material and old under, is the easiest way to kill weed seeds. Remember that the ground bark you buy now has the whole tree cut up in it and doesn't provide the food value bark, leaves, or pinestraw does. Cypress mulch makes you use more water and does not provide any food value to the soil for year. If you like colored cypress bark, then remember to water more and always keep feeding plants.
I ask my neighbors to give me their grass clippings after they have mowed their lawn. They leave me bags of clippings that I use as mulch around my flowers and vegetable plants. As the grass decomposes it fertilizes the plants and it keeps weeds from growing.
We mulch our garden completely with straw that we get from the racetrack in town in the spring when the races are on and the horses are here.
On a fluke, I picked up a Frisbee in the yard and used it to distribute mulch from the bag and haven't used anything since. It gives enough leverage to spread the right amount around each plant and sure beats trying to pick the bag up and control the amount you pour out.
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I have something growing from the mulch in my garden, it looks like a long finger. It's yellow with a an orange tip. Any idea what it is? Thanks.
Hard to say or tell w/o a photo. Can you download a pic of it for us TF readers?
I am willing to bet it is a mushroom of some sort. It ought to wilt and die within a few days.
Does it stink? Sounds like a stinkhorn. I have no sense of smell and took one once to our local nursery. They kept backing away from it and and said "can't you smell that?" Lol, to be truthful and I hope I don't offend anyone but it looks like a male appendage!
Maybe it IS a finger ! No , just kidding. Maybe a mushroom of some kind?
Without seeing a photo it is difficult to truly say what is in your garden. However, it sounds like a fungi possibly from the "Staghorn" group. Without positive idenification be careful. Some fungi are deadly. I would take a photo and take it to my local Agriculture Extension Center for identification and what to do about the problem. Good luck. Sharon G
It is a mushroom, a fungus, and it's telling you your soil under the mulch is too wet. I've only seen this where certain conditions exist:
1-it could be the mulch is way too deep and keeps the soil too wet.
2-Sometimes the fungus is in the wet, too deep mulch.
3-In beds that have been built over paving, or construction debris.
I worked years as a landscape maintenance contract administrator, also was a US 3-state Master Gardener active since 1991 until my move to Scotland last year, and saw the paving problem in urban settings like apartment buildings and commercial buildings where the car park was turned into landscaping by adding two-three feet of soil right on top of the asphalt; the too thick mulch, and the construction debris problems in private gardens.
You can spend time pulling them out (trust me, more will form) or you can rake the mulch off to check the depth of the mulch (should be no more than 2-4" at the very most), your soil moisture condition under the mulch, and if you are trying to garden over an old driveway or some construction debris (you can dig, or you can try probing with a broom handle-you may have to use a hammer to get down two or three feet where the debris and/or paving usually lurks).
Good luck, hopefully it's just too thick an application of mulch. Spread it out, let it dry, and then reapply in a much less thick layer when dry. The soil will benefit from drying out too, but while the mulch is drying out, apply a fungicide to the soil to kill off the fungus-it's got a foothold in there and the only way to be rid of it is with a fungicide. You might want to treat the mulch, too.