I know for some of you, mulching your cannabis plants seems of little importance. I get it. Hells man, I used to be you. Today I want to explain, without getting all technical on your asses, how mulching enhances your soil microlife populations, and helps to diversify them. Specifically, regarding some special fungus, that is among us. Yeah buddy.
Fungi and bacteria share “the battlefield” of the soil in your growing containers. They are basically the yin and the yang powering your plants. Fungi and bacteria are at “war” with each other—from one perspective. Battling for resources and territory they can colonize, each claiming different zones within the container. Fungi and bacterial strongholds, if you will.
Giving the powerful soil fungi a place to call home in your containers is a great thing indeed. The activities of certain fungi make things like (rock phosphate as one example of many), phosphorous, and potassium much more plant-available. Along with things like sulfur and iron, et al. Cannabis prefers a bacterial dominated soil, but they couldn’t make it without the help of the fungi as well. Let’s have a little peek regarding these thangs…
Mulching Your Cannabis Plants Using Tree Bark
Tree Bark for Special Fungi Up Top and for Bacteria in the Soil
Let me begin by saying that almost any tree bark is fine. I would be very hesitant to use cedar, or walnut tree bark indoors, or in containers especially, myself. The resin/terpenes in cedar are off the chain heavy/powerful; but I have used cedar mulch outdoors several times without any obvious issues. Walnut bark/twigs/leaves/nuts are super high regarding pH value, so that’s the only reason I hesitate with walnut.
Using the chunky style of bark mulch is fantastic for many reasons, trust me. But when it is used as a mulch up top, it attracts—and is colonized by—special fungi. The same kind of fungi you hear old artisan growers call “leaf mold”. Let’s just say they are HIGHLY beneficial, and aid greatly with phosphorous that they un-bond from the soil minerals and make available to the plant. The plant benefits are obvious once you see them, especially where flowering and root mass are concerned.
Shredded bark, used as mulch on top is attractive to both bacteria and fungi, but bacteria dominate quickly thereafter. Bark buried in your soil mix is also mostly dominated by bacteria, no matter the grade, chunky or shredded. So, this is one of those really cool subtle things to know when growing, all artisan druid style. Keep some chunky bark mulch up top and you make a home for some of your favorite fungal microlife; a stronghold for some very special good-guys.
Three Big Mulching Mistakes
- Never buy bark mulch that has been treated, dyed, or painted. Just bark, all bark, nothing but bark, 100%.
- You don’t ever want to use anything heavy as a mulch. Sand or gravel are bad ideas for mulching your cannabis plants. These things compact your soil, drastically reducing aeration.
- Collecting mulch from outdoors, for indoor plants can be a bad idea. Like dried tree leaves, or bark off the ground around trees. A whole plethora of parasitic hitchhikers can come into your grow this way. Best to compost these things first before introducing them to indoor gardens.
Rev’s Tips for Mulching Your Cannabis
You can use a lot of things as mulch. Chopped up cannabis plant stems works awesome as mulch. But I have to say, that since I have learned about this little thing with the chunky bark mulch on top, it’s the only way I roll. Why do you suppose that is? Heh heh.
I recycle my mulch when I recycle my soil, it all goes together. Also, bark, twigs, and tree leaves from outdoors, are all great, when composted prior to using as mulch. AKA ‘brown matter’ from trees, in composting lingo. Add a little ‘green matter’ and end up with awesome chunky composted mulch.
I used to use shredded bark as mulch, and that worked very well. A really nice thing about the chunky mulch is that it lasts the whole life of the plant, and then some, before it decomposes; mostly. I used to have to replace the shredded mulch every 30 days.
If you never have used mulch before and you are about to try it for the first time, I would use a little alfalfa meal top dressing underneath your mulch. If you find mulch already composted, you’re golden no worries; just use it and ignore the alfalfa meal suggestion.
Okay then good peeps. Here’s another article to check out if ya wanna by yours truly: MILF Rev’s Rave: Chunky Cherry Thai – Skunk Magazine! If you’re looking for some exotic cannabis seeds, ya might wanna have a looksee over at Kingdom Organic Seeds. I’ll be back here at SKUNK next Tuesday with another article. Smell ya later… LoL ????
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.