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I have had two tree stumps ground down and am left with two heaps of mulch. I am wondering what is the best way of using them, they are very fine so am not sure if they are good to put directly on the garden. Would it be best to compost them first?

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Comment by Jacqui on May 5, 2016 at 22:03

I had just over a meter go through in a short while, it split a huge tree I had right down the centre then sheared it off.  It took out every fence including the metal ones from my place to the creek, which was about a dozen houses. Nature is a mighty force.

Thanks Dave for letting me know about the roots, it’s logical, but to be truthful I never would have thought of it. I will check tomorrow to see if it’s near anything that can be invasive.

I’m in luck as I just brought a tipping cart so that should work a treat, but I’m not sure about the fork as the mulch I have here is very fine. I will let you know how it goes.


Comment by Dave Riley on May 5, 2016 at 10:34

Local friends of mine mulched some huge trees and spread them all over the garden beds to good effect. The flash floods of May 1st last year came through and washed the lot away....

Amazing: totally sheared. 

The old piles at the school -- two years + old -- have broken down but they have been invaded by fibrous roots which are a bugger to handle on a fork or spade. So that's a problem with neglect.

I seem to spend my life shifting mulch and I do recommend short cuts like flipping over the wheel barrow on its side and scraping/raking the mulch into it. Use a good fork rather than a shovel.I prefer shorter forks sold for about $9 at Bunnings.Require less effort. 

As for turning it over: I can think of pleasanter ways to die...

Comment by Jacqui on May 5, 2016 at 9:58

Dave I have been thinking about what you said all night, my mind running in all directions as I didn’t realize it would take quite so long to break down. The pile of pine mulch is round the corner, out of sight, so I will do as you suggested and leave it to nature, but the pile of palm mulch is under the mandarin tree so I have to move that if only a short distance.

When the floods hit The Gap they came through my place with a vengeance and left my back yard undulating where it was flat, so I think I will use the second pile to even things out a bit.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 5, 2016 at 5:55

Hi Jacqui,

I too have had 5 stumps ground and another very large tree removed of 4 large branches. It is unbelievable how much mulch you get isn't it.

What I am doing with mine is I have sprinkled the layers with Seamungus, Sudden Impact and then water on GO Go Juice, I also put Comfrey through the layers. The GO GO Juice works with the others to increase the Microbial activity. I also put some layer of soil that is being moved to make room for my new potting area.

Comment by Dave Riley on May 4, 2016 at 11:54

At the school -- where we have the garden -- tree lopping firms sometimes drop off loads of tree mulch. There's more green than with stump grind, but for on top spread on the beds it takes a year to break down without intervention in full sun before we use it on the soil as semi composted.

But moving the stuff is not my preference as  I do that far too often to recommend the activity. Nor do I promote turning it.

Leaving it where it is dumped is my absolute solution -- otherwise (a) move it while fresh and young and (b) don't move it after rain. 

If I had a pile of such mulch I'd lay it down as pathways and walk over it  until it was composted ready to shovel onto the garden. 

Comment by Jacqui on May 4, 2016 at 9:57

Thanks Elaine. I have three compost bins, they aren’t big but they do the job. I will slowly add the mulch along with the other things I normally do. I have quite a bit of mulch as these were big stumps so it will take awhile to process it all. I was a bit unsure as to whether it is a good idea to put pine mulch into the compost

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 3, 2016 at 21:39

From what I read, composting to a nice fluffy humus will give your garden the best feed unless you've a place you're preparing so you can compost in situ for some months.

Snag with using high-carbon material is that it needs to be balanced with nitrogenous material for composting to happen.

You could use kitchen scraps layered in with the wood pulp.

We had some trees lopped and a truckload of chippings dropped on the yard. I left it in situ (too much shovelling to do anything else) it will break down over time but being high carbon it will take longer and perhaps take nitrogen from the soil. The tree stumps are sprouting, so at least they are still alive 12 months later. But it's a slow process unless you can add nitrogen to the heap.

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