Landscaping questions

Asked February 23, 2015, 12:48 PM EST

I live in a condo with managed landscaping, I do have some limited access to gardening with in the flower and shrub beds. I have lived here for 7 years with mulching every year and there is at least 7 inches of mulch or more on the beds plus a landscape fabric under that. When possible I have removed the fabric since it is over clay soil and the soil is compacting to a hard damp mess and tried to break up the soil to allow airation. My question is; how much mulch is too much? What is recommended? and should I be fluffing or racking the mulch to refresh it or should it be removed and we start over, there is evidence of white mold layers. I am also on the board of directors and we are starting to rethink our landscaping management practices. Please know we inherited these problems from the builder who we just recently took over the management of the community. I would love to speak with someone but do not know who to contact. We as a community management team would love to speak with someone who could give us advise on appropriate foundation shrubs and trees to invest in. We want to be responsible to the attractiveness of our over all community as well as responsible to the plants we invest in, for their health, vitality and placing them in a location that will make us all happy. Can you help???????

York County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Thank you for your questions. The first link below is to the York County Extension webpage. It includes the phone number to call your local master gardener representatives. That phone number is (717) 840-7408.

The second link below discusses mulching. We suggest 2 to 4 inches on planted areas and since you have clay soil, you should lean towards the lesser. Organic mulch should shrink and decompose and this feeds the soil. White mold layers are fine. But mulch can become hard packed so that air and water won't easily penetrate. Raking and "fluffing" is a good idea in that case and adding new mulch on top if necessary to maintain the proper depth.

http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/york/hotline

http://news.psu.edu/story/186872/1998/04/21/mulch-ado-garden-means-better-growth-and-quality

I hope you find this helpful.