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Are bark chips recommended as a base in containers, under the compost?

Last post 04-08-2018 7:37 AM by Backache. 3 replies.

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  • 03/08/2018 04:48 PM
    Top 500 Contributor
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    {re this thread's layout & lack of paragraphing: sorry re lack of paragraphing, but there seems to be an ERROR ON THE RHS WEBPAGE ("Write a New Post" Webpage) i.e. I CANNOT get this posting to show the paragraph breaks I have typed in!:} Are bark chips recommended as a base in containers (placed at the base of the container, beneath the soil)? For drainage, water retention, unclagging compost, etc. I always thought they were, but don't do much gardening, so would appreciate some advice. We are about to plant out some lovely miniature roses we purchased. I have read up on the recommended medium of soil etc. to use, & have read that a 4:1 mixture (4 parts: John Innes No. 3 compost) (1 part: multi-purpose compost) is a good blend to use. So we've prepared that. Then I was about to start putting the bark chips in yhe base. But I wasn't sure how MUCH bark chip - i.e. depth of bark chips within the pot (measured in cm or inches) - to place in th pots. The pots we will be using range from 2 pots of 30cm diameter right up to 2 pots of 45('ish)cm diameter. Which is when I read online that bark chips - & for that matter gravel - are not only only unnecessary in the bases of containers but can in fact HINDER the required drainage or water retention, & will in fact eventually damage the plant. These are some of those advice-containing Web pages: The Myth of Using Gravel and Bark to Drain Containers and Planters ... › Garden Trends can bark be used at bottom of pot for drainage Garden Myth: Gravel in Pots and Containers | Today's Homeowner Is this true?! Should I NOT use bark chips (we have no gravel, nor any broken pots, so they were never an option!) There is SO much much Yes-No-Yes advice online it is difficult to sift through it all & find the TRUTH!! ,-)

    ~ ASunnyAspect ~
  • 03/08/2018 07:59 PM
    • Blackstart
    • Warwickshire
    • 06 Dec 2010
    • 459
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    Hi, all I can say is that apart from a few pieces of broken pottery (used in a crock pot with only one drainage hole), I have never put bark or anything else in the base of a pot before adding a good quality compost. A good compost will be free draining anyway. Blackstart

  • 04/08/2018 06:44 AM
    • poppikin
    • Glorious Surrey
    • 06 Apr 2009
    • 570
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    Paragraphing should be OK if you do it in Explorer. Poppikin

  • 04/08/2018 07:37 AM
    • Backache
    • W. Kent
    • 31 Dec 2012
    • 266
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    Thats excellent advice from Blackstart. I have heard that if bark chips are used on any soil their natural decomposing process will remove valuable Nitrogen which should be made up to restore a well balanced medium for plants to thrive.