Mulch

Asked April 6, 2016, 6:50 PM EDT

Can freshly chipped mulch--limbs, branches, and so on that have been ground into wood chips--be used as mulch for this season? This is newly made mulch in the last few days. I asked my supervisor if I could use the mulch for the gardens I'm in charge of and he said, "No," it might cause disease in the plants." Of course, he's worried about fungus. I wanted to use the chips as mulch for the hybrid tea roses. He said it had to be cured for a year. I told him I hand not heard anything like that before. Thanks Michael Rico

Winona County Minnesota

1 Response

Hi Michael,

Wood mulch is just fine for most any plants.

However, admittedly, there is some controversy in the university extension fields about the practice.
Here are some of the university "takes" on this practice:
http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/mulch/mulchland.html

And from one of our most activitst professors:
http://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chip-pathogens.pdf
http://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chips.pdf

So I feel confident in telling you that Wood chip mulch will not convey new pathogens into the beds that they are covering.

At the same time, as a gardener, you should be aware of allowing mulch to mat down too much - as in times of very prolonged, wet months (these conditions encourage mold, and fungal growths.)
If these conditions occur you can/should go into the garden and gently stir up the mulch in order to increase the air flow.

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.