Tuesday, 20 March 2007


Photo: Grass clippings work well around spud plants.

Q. I have a small hedge that has been planted about a year now. Is it all right to put fallen leaves and cut grass around the base of the shrubs?

A. The fallen leaves will benefit the soil around the shrubs more or less straight away (as long as it is not touching the shrub). Soil borne organisms and earthworms will take the nutrients to the plant roots very effectively. The freshly cut grass though isn’t as instant. New grass clippings are prone to stealing some of the nitrogen out of the soil as it rots down, which could be detrimental to the health of the hedge. I use it as mulch around more established shrubs and it seems to works well, especially in the summer. Another problem with grass is that if you do it now it will get a crust on the top of it. Water would then be prone to run off this and dry the plants out. Maybe you could put a bit of grass down first and work it into the surface of the soil before the fallen leaves go on. How’s that for a compromise!


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