anyone had problems with snakes using heavy mulch?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I recently moved to south central Missouri so I am dealing with a type of soil I'm not accustomed to. My ground has so many rocks that when I till sparks fly from the blades hitting the rocks. I have been picking up as many rocks as possible but tilling is a nightmare even with my heavy duty rear tine tiller. What soil there is that isn't rock looks to be a really nice loamy/clayey black soil with plenty of earthworms. I am seriously considering the Ruth Stout deep mulch garden method. Of course I will continue to get out as many rocks as possible. My concern is we have plenty of snakes up in these parts and I'm afraid they would find the deep mulch a perfect home. Has anyone else used the deep mulch method and if so have you had problems with snakes? Also how well does this method really work? Thanks.
-- Amanda in Missouri (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2000
Here in Arkansas, so far so good. We have a similar snake population to what you probably have, and have seen no more snakes than usual, and none under the mulch. Of course, they could be right there, underfoot, but none have come boiling out at us. We use several layers of newspaper, topped with rolled out spoiled round bales. It was a lifesaver this year with the drought.
-- melina b. (email@example.com), November 26, 2000.
We use a lot of mulch, and one year after applying it very heavily, had an abundance of mice, voles, and snakes. Contrary to popular opinion, the snakes didn't seem to reduce the number of rodents. They are just garter snakes, but I hate them all the same!
-- Rebekah (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2000.
I have only found one snake in my mulch over the years -- and I was delighted!! I grabbed the tyke up (as it was a Firesnake), to inspect him or her. I hadn't seen any around since I was a kid, so I was glad they were still in the neighborhood. We don't have poisonous snakes in any great numbers around here to worry about. If you keep the surrounding area mowed down, I doubt that many of the shy snakes will cross into the mulched areas a lot (no idea with rattlesnakes, huzzah!) Our garter snakes only seemed to eat toads (medium sized) and ducklings (large ones)
-- Julie Froelich (email@example.com), November 27, 2000.
The only snake I ever knew that used heavy mulch was this awful neighbor I used to have...what a snake he was. I had all kinds of problems with that guy! ;-)) Sorry, couldn't resist.
Well, I've found that if I keep a heavy mulch on all year, the mice come, then the snakes come. I usually rake all the mulch off in the fall and put it in a new compost pile and then spread last year's composted mulch on the fall garden after a couple hard freezes and try to til it in if possible, but not necessary. This way the mice dont come seeking winter quarters under your mulch. Also, slugs will winter over and can be a problem w/year around mulching. Of course, some will disagree, but depending on where you live, you will have your own set of successes and problems. Give it a try and find out if it will work for you...all I've ever seen were little garden snakes... and they will be there mulch or no mulch....just my 2 cents. Good luck, have fun.
-- JimR (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2000.
Amanda, I use 5 inches of large pine bark for mulch on the garden, will never go back to "regular" tilling, no problem with rodents, but then we have 8 (neutered/spayed) barn cats, and they are very good at their "jobs", but we also have lots of black snakes here, in the barns, but have never seen any in the garden. We welcome black snakes as they kill poisonous varieties, and just let them be, the black snakes, that is! Annie in SE OH.
-- Annie Miller (email@example.com), November 27, 2000.
We do mulch but not as heavily as others here. However we do some serious composting, sometimes as much as 25 yards at a time because our soil sounds similar to yours so were building the garden soil on top of what passes for soil here. Each year in the spring for the last three years I've had to evict a 4 ft pine snake from the compost after it had been spread and shaped into beds. I suspect he likes the heat from the compost.
-- john leake (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2000.
Yes we mulch and yes there are snakes,but then I find them around the house as well.As long as they are not copperheads or rattlesnakes,it poses no problem and they are welcomed in my garden.We don't even kill poisonous ones,but we do dump them over the cliff so they can't get back here.I have a live and let live attitude as much as I can.
Dog got snakebit this summer and run into the vet for a shot.He got better in a day or two, so I'm not as worried about poisonous snakes as I was before,after seeing him recuperate well.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), November 29, 2000.
ACTUALLY, I HAVE A RATHER LARGE CHICKEN SNAKE 5-6 FT THAT LIVES AROUND MY GARDEN. I WAS FLUFFING SOME MULCH AROUND A COUPLE PLANTS THE FIRST TIME I SAW IT, HE WAS AS SURPRISED AS I WAS. THAT WAS 2 SEASONS AGO AND AS LONG AS HE DOESN'T BOTHER MY BIRD HOUSES WE CAN GET ALONG.SEEN HIM SEVERAL TIMES LAST YEAR TOO. HAVEN'Y SEEN HIM YET THIS YEAR.
-- JIM HENDERSON (MGMT1ST@YAHOO.COM), April 05, 2002.