Coarse textured organic mulches, like wood chips, are the least flammable of the organic mulches. Fine textured mulches are more likely to combust, and rubber mulch is the most hazardous of all tested landscape mulches. If organic mulches are kept moist, they are less likely to catch fire. If you use flamers for weed control in areas near wood chips, be sure to soak the mulched area first.
For more information on wood chip mulches, see “Using Arborist Wood Chips As a Landscape Mulch” WSU Extension Fact Sheet FS160E Publications/FS160E
Submitted by: Linda Chalker-Scott, July 20, 2015
Gardeners apply organic soil amendments to improve soil and raise healthy plants. While organic soil amendments benefit most garden soils, over-application can waste money, increase the risk of harm to water quality, and in some cases, harm plants.
For new garden or landscape plantings, add 1 to 3 inches of organic soil amendment to the soil and incorporate to a depth of at least 6 to 8 inches. If your soil lacks organic matter (typically light colored with poor physical properties), add 2 or 3 inches of amendment. If your soil has adequate organic matter, or if salts are a concern, add less (or none at all).
If you are establishing landscape plants, amend the entire bed, and not just the planting holes. Permanent landscape beds don’t need organic soil amendments after the initial application. Decomposition of leaf litter and organic surface mulches will help maintain organic matter, creating an environment similar to soil found in forests. Established gardens and landscapes require less organic soil amendments—typically about ½ inch per year.
For information on organic amendments in your garden and landscape, see the WSU fact sheet http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS123E/FS123E.pdf
Submitted by: Paula Dinius, February 16, 2015