which bark is best?

robinlmorrisMarch 26, 2014

Hi,
I need some help figuring out which bark would be best for my plants. I am planning on using the bark in some gritty mix, 5-1-1, and as a soil amendment in some large fabric raised beds.
My choices are the 1/4 minus fir bark pictured on the left or the fine redwood amendment pictured on the right. I didn't have a coin handy, but both seemed uniform and most pieces 1/4 inch and under). I am mainly concerned about the amount of sapwood in the bark. I know that fir bark is highly recommended over redwood on the gardenweb forums, but does this fir bark in the picture have too much sapwood? Would I be better off using the redwood?

Also the description of the redwood fines is interesting:
"Ground up redwood, which is a byproduct of the lumber mills, has been stabilized with nitrogen instead of composted."

Is this nitrogen stabilization a good thing or is it something to steer clear of?
Which bark will make my plants healthier and happier?

Thanks for your help!
Robin

This post was edited by robinlmorris on Wed, Mar 26, 14 at 4:15

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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I have never heard of 'nitrogen stabilization' of bark. I would be interested in hearing more about that.

EDIT: A little Googling finds various references to 'nitrogen-stabilized' wood chips. Perhaps this is some kind of treatment that prevents them from robbing nitrogen from the soil? I am curious how that is done.

I'm no expert on gritty mix so I'll let others chime in on that. There was a thread here not long ago about this same topic (what size of bark to use).

This post was edited by toxcrusadr on Wed, Mar 26, 14 at 11:38

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:36AM
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Miguelovic(7a-BC)

"EDIT: A little Googling finds various references to 'nitrogen-stabilized' wood chips. Perhaps this is some kind of treatment that prevents them from robbing nitrogen from the soil? I am curious how that is done. "

Correct. Sulfate of ammonia is added to bring the C:N ratio to 50:1.

http://patwelsh.com/wpmu/blog/trees/chipped-eucalyptus-wood-and-leaves-from-tree-trimmers/

No idea on the gritty/5-1-1 questions, just started looking into it myself :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:57PM
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art_1(10 CA)

Not sure how much you need but this is one I've used, same as Raybo (rnewste on GardenWeb) uses for EarthTainers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthgro Decorative Groundcover Bark

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:58PM
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robinlmorris

Thanks art_1
It doesn't say what kind of wood it is; also one of the reviewers on the site says the pieces are sometimes 3/4 inch or bigger... if that is the case, do you sift out the large pieces?
Unless someone can give me a reason not to, I may just try the redwood since it is so popular where I live... and the added nitrogen may even help the plants.
It is also only $33/yd which makes it super affordable.
Thanks,
Robin

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:39AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Use what is most readily available and the least cost where you are.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:21AM
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art_1(10 CA)

I have used it right out of the bag but yes you would have to screen it to get a uniform size. I am not sure how much better it would perform if you screened it.

You could see how much is useable if you decide to screen the bagged or bulk bark, or you could just try one and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:59PM
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