Getting Cheap / Free mulch in Glendale?

rdazgardenerApril 28, 2011

I'm wondering if anyone can give advice on how to get the cheapest (or free) mulch in Glendale. I have been searching around and saw that there is / was some program in Phoenix to get it cheaply as well as through APS but I am in SRP territory so I don't think I could get from them and am also not in the city of Phoenix. I have two 15 X 6 (approx) garden areas and another large flower bed area that I'd like to mulch but I can't afford to spend a lot so am wondering if there is a way to get a lot in bulk for not too much money (self pickup would be fine). Thanks for any advice

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wabikeguy(7 AB)

You can buy straw for around $5.00 a bale. It's not pretty (unless you're a country boy like me), but it makes a very effective mulch and breaks down into great compost over time. It fluffs up real nice after you cut the wire ties holding the bale together. One bale ought to do a 6 x 15 bed easily...maybe even both.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 2:10PM
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thanks wabikeguy, interesting.. where do you buy straw bales at and would it fit in a regular car?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 2:23PM
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For those who are in an area where APS is your utility here is where to call.

Mike Neal, Arizona Public Service, PO Box 53933, Phoenix, AZ 85072-3933
(602) 371-7183 Office Cell 602703-4922

Call ahead to request a truck load of wood chips from limbs removed by the utility line clearing crew. When they are working in your area they will drop it off at your the garden free of charge. I contacted Mike and left a message and he got back to me within an hour.

You cannot get less than a full truck load though which is roughly 10 cubic yards. If you are wondering how much that is think 135 of the large 2 cubic foot bags from Home Depot. Yea, its a lot. Wish I was in APS's service area so I could get a load.

I have been trying to get free wood chips for awhile now. I thought I was going to get some but the tree service that says they offer free wood chips gave me the bate and switch. Wanted me to pay for the free chips or wait a few days when it would be more convenient for them. When I said I would wait they stopped answering my calls and emails.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 4:00PM
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Just got off the phone with Mesa Feed Barn. $ 7.50 a bale for straw and $ 17.50 a bale for alfalfa. $ 25.00 delivery charge with a $ 150.00 minimum order. $ 35.00 delivery charge if you don't make the minimum order.

This may be the way I end up going. Ten bales of straw plus delivery will be $ 110.00 delivered. Really hoping I can find free chipped wood though.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 4:09PM
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Hey thisisme, how much was that service that wanted you to buy the wood chips going to charge? I'd be willing to pay somewhat for these, I actually think the area I want to mulch is larger than what I originally estimated it at so I would be needing a fairly large amount so I think that rules out buying them at a store (so far have bought some small compost bags to put just right around the plants), but it looks for me too like hay may be the only option

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 5:43PM
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rdazgardener I don't think they are close enough to deliver to you. They are located here in East Mesa.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 6:37PM
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There are two places I know of in Glendale to get straw and or alfalfa bales, both on Thunderbird. One is just a teeny bit West of 67th Av on the South side of Tbird, across from Master Tech Auto. The other is a bit East of 67th Av and is The Stock Shop. It is also on the South side of Tbird.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 6:59PM
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I found some but you would have to go get it yourself.

Here is a link that might be useful: Free Mulch, Composting Material, Tree Bark (Glendale)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:23PM
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thanks thisisme, I should check craigslist more often, I checked a while back and didn't see any mulch but I suppose it just depends on when people have it. I got some straw today since my garden was starting to really wilt from the heat but it would be good to put some mulch on top of it

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:43PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

rdazgardener, straw IS mulch. It's not heavy or pretty like wood chips, but if you place it around your plants 3 or four inches deep you won't need anything else on top of it. (Unless you want to make it look pretty).

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:03PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

I'm suprised to hear straw cost that much in Phoenix. I paid 4 bucks a bale for it last year in Parker. Alfalfa hay is good for's considered a "green", where straw is considered a "brown," but I wouldn't recommend it for mulch.

When you cut the wire on a bale of straw...have it real close to where you want to lay it down...then break it up real good when you spread it, as it tends to compact in the bale and come off in chunks.

I like straw because the stems are tubular and full of air, which makes it a great insulater and also helps it to retain and hold in moisture. A lot of people find it ugly though.

Hope it works out for you guys.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:33PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

For straw mulch I like to suck it up in the weed blower/vac. This chops the straw into 3"- 4" lengths and it lays down nicely on the bed. I don't think it's ugly at all, especially at this chopped lenth, I find it attractive frankly. To each his own I guess.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 11:01PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

Personally I agree. Here in Havasu everybody loves those sterile little rockscape gravel gardens. (We're trying to sell our house). I have straw mulch under most of my fig trees. You should hear some of the comments I get.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 8:32AM
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I just got a call a few mins ago saying they have a full load for me tomorrow morning at 6:15 AM. This company never told me how big their loads are so I asked. The container is 12' X 8' X 6.5' and heaped over the top. I took out my trusty calculator and found that without heaping it over the top it comes to 23.11 cubic yards. With it heaped up say somewhere plus or minus 25 cubic yards. I thought 10 yards was more than enough. Moving 7 yards of soil took my son and I the better part of three days.

Yea, I'm glad I got it but as someone used to say.... "Something tells me, I'm not going to like this."

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:58PM
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marymcp which weed blower/vac did you get? Does it work well or does it jam a lot?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 1:45PM
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wabikeguy(7 AB)

How's all that mulch workin out for ya thisisme? Have you got it all spread out yet?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 2:55PM
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wabikeguy this morning I added about a six inch layer of mulch to the tomatoes. Most of the mulch is in the backyard sitting in piles. Half in a compost pile and half to be added to the raised beds. I'm not going to use hay as I have plenty of mulch. I just figure I would like to chop/shred some leaves for seed cover and let it compost a little before the late summer/fall planting season gets here. If I'm not going to ever buy soil again I need to think ahead.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 4:19PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

thisisme, the blower/vac does not jam. The attachment for the vaccum is at least 6" in diameter. It's a Black and Decker Leaf Hog, cost maybe $60 - $80.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Thanks marymcp. I was thinking of getting the....

Toro 51599 Ultra 12 amp Variable-Speed Electric Blower/Vacuum with Metal Impeller

It has very favorable reviews and only half the weight of the....

Black & Decker LH5000 12 amp Variable Speed Electric Leaf Hog Blower/Vacuum

The Black & Decker LH5000 has a lot of complaints about it being too heavy which is of concern to me. However its users think more favorably about its vacuuming/sucking/mulching ability than the owners of the Toro unit.

From one review it seams like if I would cut 12-18" off the vacuum tube of the Toro it would suck much better and weigh even less. The again I could do the same with the B&D unit making it a little lighter and make a really good leaf/vacuum/mulcher even better.

Now I just have to decide which one to buy before the leaves start coming down next fall. Decisions, decisions.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:07PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I cannot believe cutting off the vac tube would decrease the weight by much. It's really lightweight plastic. Have you gone to HD and looked at them live? I only find it heavy when it gets full of leaves. The cut straw is not as heavy as leaves.

I checked both links, the BD says it's 15 lbs! whereas the Toro is only about 7, and that's with a metal shredder. Ours is plastic and I don't think it weighs 15 lbs. Probably an earlier model. Good luck with the decision. Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 7:59AM
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I don't know if anyone is still viewing this thread, but I want to say that I just received a load of supposed "wood chips" from APS. It is comprised of 60 percent dirt, 20 percent leaves, 5 percent garbage and 15 percent wood chips. You will not get the nice wood chips that you buy in the store. I wasn't expecting that, knowing that they did say that there "may be some leaves mixed in." I was not expecting, however, that it would be 15 percent straggly, tiny twigs, with no larger (2 or 3 inches) wood pieces whatsoever. This stuff would only be good for mulch on non-food plants, and only if you are willing to pick out the plastic garbage. Anything you would use for food, you wouldn't want oleander leaves on. I just thought I'd warn anyone who does this to be prepared for what they get.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 5:29PM
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We cut down a tree and bought a wood chipper from Home Depot. We have about 10 40-gallon bags full of clean mulch/wood chips. There is NO garbage in this but there are small sticks.

Peoria has bulk trash pickup scheduled for Monday, Feb 24, 2014 so it will only be here a few days.We are located near Cactus and 67th. You may reach me by calling (517) 410-3754.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:16PM
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There is a tree service that delivers free mulch in east valley. You can request a small load. If you need the contact, send a msg. I once got that huge load from a different company and swore never to get it again, but after a few years, the mulch all broke down and needed more. Some things to know before you get it.

It stinky. It is not cedar or pine since we don't have many of those around here. It's mostly palo verde and mesquite. There will be leaves mixed in and it will have already started to compost. The good news is that those trees are nitrogen fixers and break down to excellent food for your garden.

The mulch is nothing like the nice little brown uniform chunks you buy in the stores. It is probably more effective but not so attractive.

It is dusty as some of the mulch is composting by the time it's delivered.

Be prepared to haul it. Get help if you can. It's hard work moving it.

It is one of the best things for the garden and worth the effort. Why not turn your garden into an oasis.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:30PM
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