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floridaPalmMan

Did I mound/mulch this too high?

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floridaPalmMan

I'm worried I added too much mulch to this humilis.

Is this too much?

Will I trap too much moisture at the base?

Will any more trunks sprout up if its this high?

Any advice is appreciated.

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Chris Chance

I think it will be fine. I try not to put thick mulch against to trunk but about 6 inches away I make it thicker sometimes up to 6 inches thick. I would pull some away from the trunk and just leave a thin layer and make it thicker away from it so it doesn't cause fungus on the palm.

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Palmfarmer

I would scope the bark out a bit from the palms just leaving a thin layer there. Be sure to check that it does not go into the trunks again after heavy rains or watering. 

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Looking Glass

I retooled this bed, amending the soil and added a C. Humilis, similar to yours, a few weeks ago.  I kept the soil right around it very sandy though and hit it with fertilizer.  Piled on mulch thick, to protect the whole area, but kept it away from the base of the plant so it would stay dryish and drain well in our rains.  

It responded by immediately pushing and opening four spikes at once from the leading stem, and is pushing another three at once from there.  I picked a highly suckering one from a bunch at the nursery, hoping to make a bushy octopus out of it as it grows.  It’s already popping more suckers. 
 

They say these are slow....  so far it doesn’t seem very slow...  Here’s a pick of when I put it in.  It’s noticeably bigger already.  
 

I’m thinking the danger for these in Florida is being too wet, not too dry.  They tolerate dryness well, from what folks report.  

 

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Edited by Looking Glass
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PricklyPearSATC
28 minutes ago, Looking Glass said:

I retooled this bed, amending the soil and added a C. Humilis, similar to yours, a few weeks ago.  I kept the soil right around it very sandy though and hit it with fertilizer.  Piled on mulch thick, to protect the whole area, but kept it away from the base of the plant so it would stay dryish and drain well in our rains.  

It responded by immediately pushing and opening four spikes at once from the leading stem, and is pushing another three at once from there.  I picked a highly suckering one from a bunch at the nursery, hoping to make a bushy octopus out of it as it grows.  It’s already popping more suckers. 
 

They say these are slow....  so far it doesn’t seem very slow...  Here’s a pick of when I put it in.  It’s noticeably bigger already.  
 

I’m thinking the danger for these in Florida is being too wet, not too dry.  They tolerate dryness well, from what folks report.  

 

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Mulch should look like this!

Keep the base clear....

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Cluster

A question for you guys, since you are talking about bark mulching. Would these layers of mulch or compost work its way down to a somewhat clayey soil and thus amend it progressively over the years? Because I don't see a way to amend a soil like this after having existing palms rooted there, without breaking them.

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Jim in Los Altos
13 minutes ago, Cluster said:

A question for you guys, since you are talking about bark mulching. Would these layers of mulch or compost work its way down to a somewhat clayey soil and thus amend it progressively over the years? Because I don't see a way to amend a soil like this after having existing palms rooted there, without breaking them.

It takes years but yes, compost and mulch breaking down will nourish and soften the soil. I can dig a 5 gallon hole with a bare hand in most of my yard despite it originally being clay. Years of compost and mulch did the trick. 

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Looking Glass
53 minutes ago, Cluster said:

A question for you guys, since you are talking about bark mulching. Would these layers of mulch or compost work its way down to a somewhat clayey soil and thus amend it progressively over the years? Because I don't see a way to amend a soil like this after having existing palms rooted there, without breaking them.

I think repetitive mulching contributes to the soil over long periods of time, but I’m not sure the bulk travels deeply into the soil without tilling it down there.  Still, it’s better than the alternative (not mulching) and nutrients do filter down through the sandy soil here.  

One interesting thing I have here is a type of earthworm I’ve never come across before.  They were here before in the decaying brush and ground over/ornamental grasses that I pulled up when I bought the place.  More came in bags of soil from Lowe’s that I put down, I noticed.  

They are very aggressive, and they move through and multiply in the soil and peat I mix in.   They move great deals of soil on top of the mulch quickly in damp areas.  They are not like the red worms and European nightcrawlers I’m acquainted with from other areas.  They appear to be “Alabama Jumpers?” from the way they flop all over when disturbed.  They are an invasive species that decimate forest leaf litter in some areas with their aggressive feeding and surface tunneling. 

I do believe they possibly help the garden though, so I’m constantly tossing them off the paved surfaces by the hundreds, back into the lawn and garden beds.  They want to travel a lot. 

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Mangosteen

Never had a problem after putting 5 or 6 inches of thick, heavy, moist mulch right up against the trucks of all my trees, including palms,  at my home in warm, humid, damp Hilo, HI.  Never seen anyone going through the jungles and forests here clearing the fallen debris away from the tree trunks, yet the palms and other trees grow fine without any sign of fungus or disease.  Also never had a problem at my home in southern California after mulching heavily right up against the trunks of my palms.

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BS Man about Palms
5 hours ago, Jim in Los Altos said:

It takes years but yes, compost and mulch breaking down will nourish and soften the soil. I can dig a 5 gallon hole with a bare hand in most of my yard despite it originally being clay. Years of compost and mulch did the trick. 

DITTO!

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Cluster
On 4/13/2021 at 12:19 AM, Jim in Los Altos said:

It takes years but yes, compost and mulch breaking down will nourish and soften the soil. I can dig a 5 gallon hole with a bare hand in most of my yard despite it originally being clay. Years of compost and mulch did the trick. 

Thank you! 

Those are great news, so overtime the soil should become softer as you mulch or top dress with compost. Did your palms reacted positively to the ongoing change?:)

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ExperimentalGrower
On 4/12/2021 at 4:19 PM, Jim in Los Altos said:

It takes years but yes, compost and mulch breaking down will nourish and soften the soil. I can dig a 5 gallon hole with a bare hand in most of my yard despite it originally being clay. Years of compost and mulch did the trick. 

THESE are the details I’ve been seeking as well for the same questions. I’m sure we all know by now the Bay Area’s clay soil issue. In only a year of owning my home I have amended and top dressed my planting beds heavily and have noticed a significant increase in earthworm activity and all kinds of other soil critters. Beforehand the soil was to my eyes almost devoid of life. If that’s what only a year’s worth of work got me, I can’t wait until I can also see this transformation over the decades.

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Looking Glass
On 4/12/2021 at 7:19 PM, Jim in Los Altos said:

It takes years but yes, compost and mulch breaking down will nourish and soften the soil. I can dig a 5 gallon hole with a bare hand in most of my yard despite it originally being clay. Years of compost and mulch did the trick. 

My good soil seems to only go down to 6 inches or so, before it gets pretty sandy.  Maybe I just need to quintuple my efforts with mulching and composting!  Still, something to look forward to as time goes on.   

Whenever I dig a hole, I mix something in, and the good stuff gets down there a little more...  I imagine roots pushing through, and dying off contributes, as do the worms, over long periods of time.  

I’ll keep dumping it on by the truckload....
 

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Jim in Los Altos
9 hours ago, Cluster said:

Thank you! 

Those are great news, so overtime the soil should become softer as you mulch or top dress with compost. Did your palms reacted positively to the ongoing change?:)

I’ve been mulching since before there were palms in the ground. Now, there’s a jungle of palms and other plants competing for water and nutrients but they all are getting along. 

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Cluster

Wow Jim, everything is looking so lush, they definitely like the soil you built and keep building! Is that a Nam Doc Mai mango?

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Tyrone
On 4/13/2021 at 8:42 AM, Mangosteen said:

Never had a problem after putting 5 or 6 inches of thick, heavy, moist mulch right up against the trucks of all my trees, including palms,  at my home in warm, humid, damp Hilo, HI.  Never seen anyone going through the jungles and forests here clearing the fallen debris away from the tree trunks, yet the palms and other trees grow fine without any sign of fungus or disease.  Also never had a problem at my home in southern California after mulching heavily right up against the trunks of my palms.

Agree totally. From my experience palms love mulch up around the base even those from drier climates. 

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Jim in Los Altos
18 hours ago, Cluster said:

Wow Jim, everything is looking so lush, they definitely like the soil you built and keep building! Is that a Nam Doc Mai mango?

That one’s a Manila Mango. 

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Chester B
18 hours ago, Tyrone said:

Agree totally. From my experience palms love mulch up around the base even those from drier climates. 

Same, no issues with this in my wet winter climate. 

Areas that I have heavily mulched which were like concrete initially, after 4 years I can dig holes with my hands.  I put it on thick and usually it will break down in a couple years.  When I first started I would dig or chip a hole and see nothing but hard pan clay.  Now I can't stick a shovel in the ground without large amounts of worms.  I also feel the mulch and droppings from the plants help to provide homes for beneficial insects and microbes as well.  Birds love my yard now, lots of food and habitat.

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BayAndroid
15 minutes ago, Jim in Los Altos said:

That one’s a Manila Mango. 

Wow, impressive! How long have you been growing that? Growing any other fruit on your property? 

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BayAndroid
7 minutes ago, Chester B said:

Same, no issues with this in my wet winter climate. 

Areas that I have heavily mulched which were like concrete initially, after 4 years I can dig holes with my hands.  I put it on thick and usually it will break down in a couple years.  When I first started I would dig or chip a hole and see nothing but hard pan clay.  Now I can't stick a shovel in the ground without large amounts of worms.  I also feel the mulch and droppings from the plants help to provide homes for beneficial insects and microbes as well.  Birds love my yard now, lots of food and habitat.

On this topic, do you struggle at all with weeds, or do they start to go away with these good soil conditions? I'm in the process of rejuvenating my soil. The thickest hardest clay soil... I swear it really needs some TLC, but I'm already making some improvements.  

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Jim in Los Altos
45 minutes ago, BayAndroid said:

Wow, impressive! How long have you been growing that? Growing any other fruit on your property? 

Many years. Last year, the main stem sadly collapsed under the weight of the fruit but a new one sprouted from the remaining trunk and is growing well. I’ve grown a couple varieties of papaya too. I have a large producing macadamia nut tree that the squirrels ravage every year and some citrus. 

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Cluster

A last question for all you mulch experts,  would "medium to medium high" compost work as well or only the likes of bark chips and similar?

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Cluster

I ask this because if you have lawn, the mulching might kill it.

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Gonzer

Bottom line is this: stay away, far away, from the red or brown crap sold in box stores. Mulch from a green dump is great.

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Chester B
21 hours ago, BayAndroid said:

On this topic, do you struggle at all with weeds, or do they start to go away with these good soil conditions? I'm in the process of rejuvenating my soil. The thickest hardest clay soil... I swear it really needs some TLC, but I'm already making some improvements.  

No weeds hardly.  I do get a few here and there in my front yard where the plants are spread out.  In my backyard I plant densely for more of the jungle look and I get zero.

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