Revitalize colored wood mulch

lambsydivyMay 2, 2010

This might like a stupid question, but here goes. I have a small back yard with a LARGE blue spruce in it. The ground under the tree refuses to grow any decent grass, so I have covered it with red colored wood mulch. Problem is, that it fades fast. That, and the fact that the tree drops so many needles over the winter/spring that you can hardly see the red. Instead of redoing or even topping off the mulch every year, would it be practical/possible to get a gallon of red deck stain and spray it over the top of the existing mulch and needles? Has anyone ever tried this, and how does it work (if it does)?

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Probably not exactly what you want to hear - easiest way to deal with red mulch (the Garden Design Forum participants don't have a real high regard for red mulch; maybe second only to the regard for tree circles) is to cover it over with a natural colored more earth toned mulch. Although all mulches disappear and need topping off over time, the earth tones look better longer.

However, if you have to have blue floating in a sea of red, replenish the red mulch with more red mulch as it fades - not a gallon of deck stain. Why choke a perfectly good conifer? I'd be afraid, over time using deck stain, the tree would probably match the mulch. :-)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 12:21PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Yes, I think you'd poison both yourself and the tree doing that.

I agree with Duluth. Dropping needles is what trees do, and a mulch that is the colour of the needles and other natural materials will work best. Indeed, I suspect the tree is actually self-mulching, its needle drop probably covering the ground enough to keep all grass and weeds suppressed and things looking fairly uniform.

If it's not crisp-looking enough for you that way, brick or stone edging of some sort might make it more acceptable to you.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 1:26PM
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I feel like a bad person for even posting the link, but they make a product specifically for this task.

Here is a link that might be useful: If you must...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 6:43PM
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This is an easy one, but that spruce through a LARGE chipper and spread the chips out over the painted mulch in an attractive heap, permanent ugly.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 7:09PM
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BarkBrite. Ya gotta love it when necessity is the mother of invention. What we need now is FlowerTint for those color combo disasters...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 7:38PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Marcinde, I really admire you for even knowing about that stuff! Very open-minded of you.

As for the initial question, Lambsydivy, it's not a stupid question to ask how certain landscape effects are achieved. People are just quibbling with the landscape design value of the effect you are after. Some people are open to having their choices questioned, others not so much.

Hope you find something useful; you're not getting responses by email but I hope you are not discouraged from checking back and also reading around the forum a bit more.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:37AM
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