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Is the underlying soil heavily compacted? If yes and you want to plant it, you need to cultivate it before planting. To do that you need to first remove the plastic membrane. If then the layer of mulch isn't too thick I'd be tempted, depending on the area, to just dig it in either manually or with a rotavator. Digging is hard work if you're not used to it so ...


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You will need to remove the plastic and dig over properly in order to plant, and that means removing the wood chips/mulch. If the chips are not fresh wood, its worth keeping them somewhere to replace direct on the soil after planting, with no liner beneath, because they will break down and improve the soil over time, but if they are fresh wood, best to leave ...


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In permanently potted plants, you can remove the buildup if it becomes too great. It shouldn’t pose any threat in small amounts, or over the course of a single season.


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