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Removing Old Mulch, No Fabric

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Smallaxe, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I maintain perennial beds, flower beds, tree and shrub areas that people like to look at, even walk through, so over the years quite a bit of mulch material has been laid down as the plants in the bed have matured...

    One year a client had an outside 'cleanup crew' come onto his property to do some kind of job, but they decided to 'clean up' all the old debris under the plantings in 'all the beds'... they got down to the dirt with their blowers and roots that were growing in the decayed mulch now lie exposed to the sun...

    My question is:
    How many LCO's believe that old mulch needs to be removed, down to the dirt, whether annually or occassionaly when a customer believes its time for a change???
  2. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Never unless there is a disease or fungus.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,061

    It would depened on the thickness of the old mulch. I have had places that were a foot thick. That needs to be cleaned out. If installed correctly mulch layer should decompose and improve the organic content of the soil.
  4. MV Property Care

    MV Property Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    do you use a weed barrior (plastic or fabric) when you lay mulch?
  5. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    Every third year we clean out the mulch out the beds
    On tree rings we clean out every year
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I never use fabric under mulch, but I do use it under stone...

    I like the reason of removing it if it's promoting disease and I like the reason for leaving it to decay into the soil...

    What is the reason for removing it every 3 years or even annually???
  7. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    only if it needs it

    meaning only if it needs to be remulched and there is not enough space to lay more down (usually if theres 5-6" or more of existing mulch) even then as you know its a poor idea to remove ALL of the existing mulch unless fungus or disease is present.

    Also, its our "rule of thumb" to lay down 3-5" of bark on new beds and 1-3" on existing beds depending on how much room there is. We try to never over do it as then youll have the the problem of too much when you remulch a year or so later.

    Thats just our "rule of thumb"
  8. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,157

    Only if it interferes with the water getting through. Also if it is going to cover tree trunks or hvac, irrigation equipment.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I only remove if necessary, and that's generally properties that I take over.

    I put my clients on a two year mulch cycle, so 99.9% of the time there is never any real buildup of mulch on properties I maintain.

    It's just the houses I take over where the original LCO had been selling them mulch every year and then letting it build up over time.

  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The problem I have is leaving the mulch alone when I do the Spring cleanup of pine needles and leaves... the top layers are always picked up with the rest and unless the client replaces once in a while it is soon all gone...
    If I could convince the client to just leave some of the debris behind and put another thin layer over it to make it look better, it may be able to start composting into the soil... it would be simple enough to do, but now the client that I'm thinking of is about to be talked into a "Final Solution" by some professional friends and I may have to tell them I won't participate... we all know how those final solutions work and I want no involvement because when it fails it will be my fault...

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