Myth vs Reality.

Part 3: "Spring Or Fall"
There's a lot to be said for mulching at both of the key gardening times of the year, the beginning and end of The Gardening Season: Spring and Fall. n Mulching to two 2" in the Spring insures a fresh look to your Planted Gardens and really makes the plants stand-out as they make their way back to life and rebloom. And if you use annuals as fillers, it makes them look all the better. Plus a good solid layer of quality mulch improves the poor soils that are endemic to this area, holds moisture in and acts as a moderate weed barrier. Once again, don't use fresh wood chips, poorly-composted or treated mulch, or you and your Garden will pay a hefty price.

"Treated Mulch" means that herbicides, fungicides or pesticides or all three have been sprayed onto the still-decomposing wood to reduce weed growth, fungus or termites and earwigs that live in junk or "hot" (composted-less-than-2 years) mulch. Or maybe these misguided and deceitful people have used "fillers" such as mushroom compost or paper mill toxic sludge by-products (read lethal, cancer-causing, carcinogens Dioxin and Furan) to bulk up the weight and you're actually not getting what you think or what you're paying for. These added chemicals can kill your plants and grass, plus cause serious and deadly reactions to your children and pets if no precautions are taken against continued direct skin contact or ingestion. Alternately, fresh wood chips will turn your plants yellow, since the chips need bacteria to break down the wood celulose, and the bacteria needs the plants' nitrogen to live on as it decomposes the wood chips.)

We don't carry treated mulch of any kind. Nor should you buy any treated mulch; it contains harmful and perhaps deadly chemicals that no one should have to deal with in any Planted Garden. Over the years, continued use will lead to accumulations that produce groundwater contamination and poisoning of plants and vegetables. If someone says they sell treated mulch, it's because it's cheap, substandard garbage in the first place, and you should hang up the phone and call us for the best Double-Shredded Premium Dark Bark Natural Mulch available anywhere.

Fall Mulching also pays great benefits, in that the mulch acts as a insulative barrier against the oncoming Winter cold, protecting the plants' crown and root system against freezing, or worse, pitching and heaving the plant out of its planting hole. A mere 1-2" cover is required; after the perennials are ripened-off (leaves browned and cut back to the ground), pile an extra couple of handfuls of mulch on top as protection. n Remember the "really bad Winter of 1993", when everything was covered with a blanket of snow and ice for months from the ice storms and the big blizzard? That covering literally acted as a thermal blanket against the cold winds and the plants below the snowpack never looked better than when they bloomed in Spring of 1994. Mulching properly in the Fall acts in much the same manner. The really smart Gardener mulches twice each season; and each for different reasons, splitting the difference in depth of mulch, rather than loading-up with 4" in the Spring, as many substandard garden centers and nurseries often tell you to do. They just want to sell mulch. It takes almost an entire season for the bottom of the Spring mulch layer to rot down and amend the prevalent clay soils around here and become part of the soil; and by then, the Garden is ready for its Winter-prep coating. 2" is enough twice a year.

An often-asked question is about why certain fungus appear; "vomit like, bright yellow area" that spreads overnight. Most of this is naturally-occurring fungus coming through the mulch from underground pockets; some, however is the mushroom compost that some unscrupulous vendors mix-in as a filler, which shows their true business ethics. To find out, lift it carefully with a trowel; if the tendrils go down into the ground, it's a natural occurrence and can be eliminated with a spray bottle of Clorox, but if it's resting ontop of the mulch, you've got a bad load and you should give the seller hell about it. Same for artillery spore fungus; it will stain and mar a home's siding, driveway and car's paint finish when it shoots its reproductive, black smutty spores. (A few squirts of Clorox will also kill it.) Then come to us for some pure Double-Shredded Premium Dark Bark Natural Mulch, with nothing added and see how well you Planted Garden does for a change.

To mulch or not to mulch, is not the question; but how much to mulch is. n 4" anytime is too much mulch. Plants can't grow in mulch, they need soil. And to snug-up that much mulch around any plant will likely kill it. Use common sense, 2" is enough, twice a year, Spring and Fall.

In addition to the finest Double-Shredded Premium Dark Bark Natural Mulch, we feature 200 varieties of annuals and herbs, over 735 varieties of perennials, ornamental grasses and bamboos, and more than 1250 cultivars of nursery stock, ranging from the common to the very rare, unusual and hard-to-find. No one anywhere offers more or better; they only claim to. n Our Collector's Rare Plant Nursery has been supplying Gardening Enthusiasts for four years, and is a must for Connoisseurs and Serious Collectors.

And a really special feature this year will be a Cactus Display Garden with over 60 varieties of hardy Cactus for this area. And 100 more in the Spring. Another original first.

Our unconditional guarantee: If for any reason any product or plant you purchase at John Shelley's Garden Center & Nursery doesn't perform to your satisfaction, simply bring it back with its original receipt and we'll give you another or equal value.

Call us for a free consultation and estimate.

Once again, no other Garden Center, Nursery or Mass Merchandiser even comes close.