Re: [tomato] Cedar mulch bad for tomato plants?

Thomas Giannou (
Sat, 23 Jun 2001 15:44:10 -0700

Hi T.Wallace,

Fresh Cedar mulch is not much different than putting down shreded pine and
sawdust.  Cedar is just another kind of wood.  It's fairly safe to assume
that Cedar mulch is not composted, but uncomposted.  Whether the mulch is
from Cedar trees or pine or any other type of wood, it will take a lot of
nitrogen out of the soil as it decomposes.  It's that process which would
not be good for most plants... tomatoes included.

When the Cedar mulch is incorporated into soil, the carbon provides a rich
source of energy for bacteria and fungi that decompose it. However, the
microbes also use nitrogen and can quickly deplete the entire supply of
nitrogen available in the soil, making plant growth impossible.  Having a
decomposing mass of cedar mulch on top of the soil or mixed in the top few
inches is enough for the microbes to get busy.  The feeder roots of the
plants are right there and you might have a problem growing tomatoes in such
soil because of the nitrogen depletion by the microbes.

Sooooo, knowing this problem, you might want to spray 5-1-1 fish emulsion
down once a week as a feed around your plants.  That certainly would help
with the nitrogen depletion issue.

Best Regards,
Thomas Giannou - zone 5 - Spokane, WA

----- Original Message -----
From: "T Wallace" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2001 12:43 PM
Subject: [tomato] Cedar mulch bad for tomato plants?

> Does anyone here know if cedar mulch is bad for tomato plants?