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Old 05-31-2009, 07:25 PM
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
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I got a tip from a gal that does my next door neighbors yard, newspapers instead of plastic or fabric.

I had an issue with it being too wet on one side of my house and it turned out previous owners put several layers of this black fabric stuff under the mulch. I took it out and used newspaper last year. Weeds were getting through and feeding on the fabric stuff.

I also had to move the downspout as it was going into the mulch area, which had a rubber edge then with all the fabric layers, turned into a pool of water, drained into my window well, it was a mess. Of course, last June we got an exceptional amount of rain all at once but it could have been avoided had I realized.

Sorry for the long story and fabric is probably fine, one layer (or according to directions), not 3 or 4!!!
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:23 PM
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Default For the OP

Julia, sorry that your questions hadn't been addressed more directly. Let me try to do that.
I have no idea why your neighbors are mulching now. Maybe they just planted something new, but why not ask them directly? If they are old timers in IL, maybe they can provide you with useful advice. Much of the advice on the forums comes from other parts of the country, where conditions are different from yours. Local folks know better.
As some posters mentioned, mulch has many benefits, like preventing weeds, keeping moisture (good for new planted flowers) and in the long time, even providing your plants with a some food. It can be also aesthetically pleasant (for example if you grow white flowers).
If you already have good mulch, there is no reason to add on top of it. However, with time you need to replenish it. In many cases, mulch is used to protect plants during winter time (I do that with my roses) and in spring, I remove it to let the roses breath and bloom.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JustJulia View Post
Thanks, everybody. I'm not sure how old the current mulch is--I wish I had known to ask the owners. I'll take a look at it to see how faded it is. It's dark brown.
You don't need to remove the old mulch - I never have. I simply put down new mulch over the old. Of course, if the area you are mulching is very small and contained, such as inside a hardscape border, then over time, the mulch will break down, add to the soil, and eventually you'll have to remove soil to avoid an overflow. But generally, in open beds, there is no need to remove any existing mulch - where on earth would you put it??

Originally Posted by JustJulia View Post
Also, I'm pretty sure we don't have the fabric.
Only put the fabric down in a new bed.
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