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I come over from New Zealand once a year and get the family garden sorted. This year I haven't been able to arrive any earlier because of Covid-19. So we are in the middle of summer and the garden needs a lift, it has underground watering. 1.Do I rack off the bark layer and replace it with a D Compost a few inches thick? 2. Leave the bark and just add a general garden fertilizer and water that in? 3. Is there another product I should be looking at that I can buy in this area by the yard?

The garden is in Los Altos Ca. and any help would be appreciated

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If it was me, I'd firstly accept that I might not achieve the same results as I had in previous years because of Covid-19 delaying me. Unaware of what type of planting you have there, trees,shrubs,cacti,perennials/annuals or a combination. I would not remove or disturb the bark. It is holding in moisture and preventing weed germination so personally, I would leave it place I would add a balanced fertiliser, [Growmore is a proprietary brand here in the UK with a 7,7,7 balanced [Nitrogen Phosphate Potash] nutrient rating> You should be able to find something similar. I'd apply this dry, at or below the rate prescribed on the labelling. Less is more and further small applications are better than applying too much that could then 'burn or scorch' plant tissues. After application of any feed; I would try to ensure that the sprinkler system gives the garden a really good soaking, [if the local byelaws allow], to ensure the fertiliser is watered right in and dispersed through the soil. You might, dependant on water restriction' top-up feed for specific plants or general with a liquid [dissolvable] feed like Miracle-Gro either with a watering can or a hose/feed in-line attachment. Not sure how cold it gets out there but lush growth, from feeding may be subject to frost damage as it needs time to harden-off before periods of cold. In the UK we would try not to feed too late in the year so as to try and avoid this happening.

Thanks and good luck - there is always next year.

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