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Old 03-20-2017, 12:30 PM
 
Location: British Columbia
3,495 posts, read 4,018,290 times
Reputation: 4382

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kretsch View Post
The mulch was put in there last year by a guy that I hired to do some cleaning out of the front yard and he put in the mulch and helped plant the stuff that I bought. So I don't have any details about the mulch itself aside that the gardener said it was good quality
That white stuff is probably mycelium then. If that's what it is then it's a beneficial thing for the soil, in simplified terms it's kind of like a conditioner that improves the soil but it takes a few months to a year to see better results with soil and plants. Mycelium helps to decompose the organic matter in the mulch and make the soil more fertile and water soluable for plants and earthworms. Here is information about mycelium: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycelium

If you can't post a picture of it then try to do as TreeZoo suggested - take a sample of both the soil and mulch with the white stuff on it to your county agent or a knowledgeable garden store or the gardener you hired to put the mulch down, and get their opinion.

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Old 03-20-2017, 01:47 PM
 
507 posts, read 150,764 times
Reputation: 2251
^^^

Spot on. Except the part about asking at a garden store or the guy you hired. Skip that and go straight to the extension agent. If you knew enough to tell whether the latter 2 were blowing smoke, you wouldn't need to ask them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kretsch View Post
When I did pull out one of the plants, aside from the white appearance of the SOIL, I noticed that there a lot of ants and some worms crawling in the dirt and the roots
That's healthy soil, and the best thing to do is let it continue to cook. Let the worms do your work. I used to be of the double-digging, work-in-compost contingent - until I figured out how useless that was, especially in heavy clay soil.

When I switched to mulching and letting the worms aerate my soil, not only did the amount of work I needed to do every year go way way WAY down, my soil grew better and better by leaps and bounds.

Following the Way of the Worm doesn't help with an area that gets poor drainage, but who tries to garden in muck like that anyway?

And don't worry about soil vs dirt. I've been gardening for over 50 years and I still call it dirt. Purists be darned!
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Old Today, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,328 posts, read 11,718,367 times
Reputation: 6127
Quote:
Originally Posted by kretsch View Post
When I did pull out one of the plants, aside from the white appearance of the SOIL, I noticed that there a lot of ants and some worms crawling in the dirt and the roots
OP pictures may help. I'd definitely support sending pictures to the extension and getting the soil tested. To be honest, the first think KT thought when I read "white soil" and "texas" is chalk soil? If you have chalk soil you may have to pick suitable plants. Also ants make me think the soil is dry.

One thing that I've noticed is that some new gardeners may not realize how to care for new plantings. You have to keep watering them regularly, deeply (as needed) for the first year or two. That may be as often as once a week, assuming you plant them in COOL weather.

TBH there are tons of things that could have gone awry and pictures would really help. For me I've had fungus in mulch, and plants still lived. Visible soil fungi may be an indication that you have healthy soil. If it is chalk or sand, then you may just need to get suitable plants and water them until they establish.
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