Deodora cedar chips as ground cover/mulch

Asked May 29, 2018, 12:52 PM EDT

Had to have 3 deodora cedar trees removed and stumps ground. A lot of the stump ground debris was removed but still a lot remaining. Can the cedar chips/dirt combo be used under rhododendrons or other plants?

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Mulch can help rhododendrons since " Most azaleas and rhododendrons are shallow rooted and need heavy mulch to conserve moisture around the roots, to minimize winter injury, and to prevent injury from cultivation. Coarse materials such as partly decomposed oak leaves or pine needles are ideal. Oak shavings, hardwood chips, aged sawdust, or sphagnum peat moss may also be used satisfactorily. A two‑inch depth of mulch is satisfactory."

Here is another Extension article about mulches indicating cedar is fine, especially since it tends toward the acidic, which is what rhododendrons prefer in soil. As the article notes, though, keep the mulch away from the trunks, lest fungal pathogens thrive there and infect the plants. In terms of 'other plants,' I can't give you advice without knowing the specific type of plant.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck!