Which bark looks better? (Pics)

dsb22(z7 VA)May 11, 2013

Hi everyone,

After advice from Al and much searching, I've come up with what I think are my best bark options locally. One is sold as "Pine Fines Soil Conditioner", second is sold as "Pine Bark & Fines".

1st pic shows both barks next to 1/2" screen.
2nd pic is darker bark on top of 1/8" screen.

The darker bark goes almost completely through 1/2" screen. (Very little goes through insect screen, but it's still damp from recent rain.) If I screen out the finest particles through 1/8", would the remainder be good for Gritty mix?

Could I use the darker bark unscreened for 5-1-1?

Could I use the lighter bark on the right for 5-1-1 if screened through 1/2"?

I will be using the Gritty primarily for japanese maples. I will be using the 5-1-1 for edibles and perennials on an east-facing second floor deck. I water deck plants daily during the summer.

Thank you for feedback!

Deanna

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Yes. Once it dries out you can screen out the fine stuff through a 1/8" screen and use the rest for the gritty mix. You can add the fine stuff back to the 511 pile.

And yes the darker bark looks perfect for the 511 as is.

And yes, you can use the lighter bark on the right for the 511 if screened through 1/2".

You seem to have a good handle on what you are doing.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:19PM
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dsb22(z7 VA)

Awesome, thank you so much for the quick reply! I thought the dark stuff looked good when I saw it. I found it at Ace Hardware btw, if anyone else in the mid-Atlantic area is still looking.

I'm off to buy more!

Thanks again,
Deanna

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 1:21PM
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woohooman

I'm no expert, but that black stuff looks great except for the COLOR-- have never seen a BLACK(gray) pine bark... like I said though, no expert here.

Regarding the stuff on the right, don't forget to remove the sapwood also.

Kevin

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 8:41PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

It's partially composted, that's why it's black.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:48PM
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dsb22(z7 VA)

"It's partially composted, that's why it's black."

I'm glad to hear that. Telling uncomposted from partially composted bark was still something I was wondering about.

I hadn't been worrying about the color because I'd read that the dyes used to color mulch should be harmless. But thanks for bringing it up Kevin, because it prompted me to look up the original source of the mulch (the brand is "Lumber Jack" from Grant Mulch Co in WV) and it seems to be reputable.

Yeah, I hate picking out sapwood, pain in the neck.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:57PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

FWIW I think most people would probably prefer sifting the uncomposted bark for the gritty mix......I do. If I was going to use the partially composted bark for the gritty mix, I 'might' hose/wash it off a bit over a screen first to get the powdery stuff off of it..

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:38PM
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vabreeze(z7VA)

dsb22, are you in central VA? If so would you tell me where you purchased your "Pine Fines Soil Conditioner",and "Pine Bark & Fines". Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 2:33PM
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dsb22(z7 VA)

Hi vabreeze, I'm in northern VA, but I purchased the "Pine Fines Soil Conditioner" bark at an Ace Hardware. So if you have one near you, they may carry the same thing. The "Pine Bark & Fines" came from Merrifield Garden Center here. However a heads up that I had also emailed Al directly and he has replied that the dark bark "looks a little TOO composted for the 5:1:1, but would prolly work if you mixed it half & half with the uncomposted bark + perlite & left out the peat." He said to use the uncomposted bark (screened) for the gritty mix.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:34PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

dsd22, I'm glad you were in contact with Al. He's helped me alot the past couple of years. I got excited when I saw the composted pine bark you showed, and since I definitely need extra water retention, would use it as is for the 511. But Al is right in suggesting a 50-50 mix with the uncomposted bark to start out. Once you try it, you'll quickly learn if any adjustments are necessary to meet your needs. Hope I didn't steer you too far off by calling it partially composted. Ed

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:34PM
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dsb22(z7 VA)

No worries, Ed. I used the darker bark for 5-1-1 in two big (24") pots on our deck and I've only got one plant (confederate jasmine) in each so far. It won't be a big deal to replace half with the screened lighter bark and more perlite as Al suggests. I already have peat in the mix, but it does get very hot on our deck. Sometimes I have to water twice/day in the summer. I'm thinking the extra water retention will be fine, if not beneficial. Thank you for your help.

Deanna

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 10:37AM
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vabreeze(z7VA)

Thanks, dsb22, for your reply!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:02PM
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