Blue Gum Mulch Myths Dispelled

  • Aug 14, 2019

The use of blue gum eucalyptus as a mulch material has long been viewed as problematic because of its reputation as having lethal effects on other plants. However, a new master’s thesis entitled, Evaluating the myth of allelopathy in California blue gum plantations, by Kristen Nelson indicates that blue gum is not toxic to California native species. Dr. Ben Faber notes this research may help allay fears about using blue gum mulch and that the woody material could be beneficial when used correctly as a mulch.

Using mulch in a grove can help enhance plant growth by:

  • Reducing soil compaction
  • Helping control weeds, pests and diseases (thus reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers)
  • Providing nutrients
  • Offering habitats to beneficial insects

There are several myths concerning the use of wood chips as mulch. Wood chips will:

  • Not draw nitrogen from the soil
  • Not transmit pathogens to healthy roots
  • Not change the pH of the soil
  • Not encourage tunnel building by rodents