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Way too much mulch

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Joined: 2009-08-08

Way Too Much Mulch!
I had the good fortune to chase down a tree-trimming truck who deposited a couple of loads of chipped branches and leaves in my driveway. After several backbreaking weekends, I’ve redistributed the mulch around the house in a nice 12 inch deep raised bed design. We have heavy clay soil here, so I put down a good 8 layers of newspaper before dumping down the mulch.
I’m ready to plant my shrubs (got a few soft touch holly and an azalea) but now I’m not sure how to actually do the planting in all that mulch. I’m thinking to maybe just repot the shrubs in larger containers and then place the containers down in the mulch. Conversely, I could remove the mulch and newspaper from where the shrubs would go and dig down to loosen the native clay soil and then add more soil to actually plant the shrubs so the roots would be able to stretch out.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

DCB in Ga
heavy clay soil

It sounds like you are in GA or AL where the clay is abundant. Either methods mentioned are going to have to remove mulch leave the newspapers and add garden soil or compost. Mix the compost with the clay. Did a deeper hole than is needed for each plant and place a couple of hands full of composted manure, then more dirt and then the plants, more newspaper and then the removed mulch. Water them every other day, but remember that clay holds water very well. One little note: Roses love this type of soil, so one or two might look nice if this area get more than 6 hours of sun. Happy gardening.

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