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Old 04-01-2015, 06:12 AM
 
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Last fall we had a very old cherry tree that we had to have cut down. I hated to do it, but it had several large limbs that were dead or dying that were close to the house. Even the trunk was compromised with old carpenter ant nests. Now we have a wood chip pile there about 8 by 10 feet.
I'd love to plant another cherry tree close to where the old one was but I've been told you shouldn't. Can I plant one at the edge of the chip pile, several feet away from where the original tree was?
Beyond that, we are going to put up an arbor where the old tree was and keep a bird bath under it. I'd like to plant some clematis vines around it. The question is, will they have a tough time growing and should we add anything to the soil and to help the wood chips break down faster? I had read that wood chips deplete nitrogen from the soil as it breaks down. There's a sale on composted cow manure this week and we were going to get some for the flower and vegetable gardens and I was going to get an extra bag or two for that area. If we do anything else, I was thinking about planting some perennials in the wood chips, maybe rudbeckia or something. Will they grow there? Cherry wood is a soft wood that should break down quicker than hard wood, thankfully. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 04-01-2015, 01:28 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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Wood chips are a good mulch to put on top of the soil around plants/trees, but leaving air space around the trunks. You cannot plant in it, and you don't want to dig it into the soil and then plant right away. You should move it to an unplanted area where it will not be in the way, and to help it break down mix in some green, such as grass clippings, or leaves. It will still take a few years.
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