Coo-Coo for Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch

iowa50126(z5IA)May 30, 2005

I bought some cocoa bean shell mulch today at Menards(TM) in Mason City for a new flower bed I started this Spring.

I had driven to MC to buy some Milorganite on sale at Mills Fleet Farm. And decided to cruise thru Menards Garden lot before heading home as I needed some mulch.

I bought the coca bean mulch on impulse, and now I'm wondering if I was crazy. (coo-coo)

I was looking for a mulch that would be free of slugs and just last one year and I thought the coca mulch was the ticket.

And being a choco-holic and thinking that Hershey, PA is a heavenly town...at least it smells like Heaven should smell. The cocoa bean mulch seemed like fun. It did not smell much in the bag at Menards.

However,

I spread it very thin on my flower bed which is 2ft x 35ft between my driveway and the neighbors driveway. It's less than an inch deep and just barely covers the bare soil. It looks great... but...

I soaked the bed before applying the mulch and then soaked the mulch. Which is what I had read to do on the Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch Assoc webpage.

Now my house and the whole end of my block smells like bakers chocolate or at worst coco puffs. It really smells when it's wet!

My neighbors were giving me the business 2 days ago when I turned my compost pile which was heavy with wet grass clippings and few browns and was just a little ... "Stinky"

I can only guess at the harangue the cocoa mulch oder will cause.

Hopefully the chocolate smell will just last the few weeks as promised.

Keeping a low profile in Iowa Falls

Pete

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LeslieL(z5a IA)

Pete, I think you should tell them it's just the Keebler Elves in on of your trees......
LeslieL

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 7:40AM
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Maude_IA(z5-SE Iowa)

My MIL used cocoa beans shell mulch years ago -- neighbors ended up doing lots of baking!

My guess is that the smell will dissipate in a few weeks, only to reappear when disturbed.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 10:18AM
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ginni77(z 5)

It does smell yummy, I think. But if you have dog/dogs be very careful to watch them. Dogs love it and it's toxic to them. Here's an article about it.

Ginni

Here is a link that might be useful: Cocoa Bean Mulch ...dangerous to dogs

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 9:20PM
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iowa50126(z5IA)

I don't have any dogs and dogs are not legally free to run unleashed here. And I saw the notice about dogs eating this stuff .. After ... I bought it and put it down.

But like any small town in Iowa some dogs do run free. There is a large male black lab who comes to my neighbor's house every day from 3 blocks away. The dogs owner runs a auto garage and the dog is never leased. My neighbor feeds the dog a dog treat and he then heads home. Usually, he sniffs and sprays all my trees and occasionally he leaves a very large brown present on my lawn.

I've tried to get my neighbor to stop feeding the dog by joking about it ... but she's 79 has 2 dogs of her own and I think she likes the darn dog better that her neighbors. So I'm in a lose - lose situation if I get tough in this issue.

The dog seems totally uninterested in the mulch. He's an old dog and the 4 years I've lived here I have never heard him bark or growl. He loves people and will walk right up to everyone and he can not be intimidated.

When other folks in the neighborhood call the police about him... the cops just pull up open the door...and drive him home...

I've seem him eat roadkill squirrels and crows. He went home with a mouthful of feathers after eating the bird. The first thing I thought of when I saw hime eating the bird was ... west nile. So, who knows if he'd get sick on this stuff...he's a really BIG dog. Besides he's not hungery after his free food next door. (Why eat hamburger when the steak is free?)

One thing I've noticed is that the smell is almost gone and the robins love to hunt in that flower bed ... they are there all day.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 12:35AM
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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

I like the look of coco bean mulch also. The only thing I didn't like was the mildew it got on it. I just keep raking it around .

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 1:31PM
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nyaa_nyaa(Zone 5)

My sister claims the cocoa bean mulch keeps the rabbits at bay!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 10:27PM
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lvmygrdn(z7 MD)

iowa, now that time has passed would you use cocoa mulch again? I'm thinking of using it this year. I'm in a townhouse and the neighbors may not like it but oh well. I've used it before when I lived in Jersey and loved it. It is pricey here but what the heck.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 9:01AM
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iowa50126(z5IA)

Yes...I plan to use it again on selected flower beds. However, It seemed to decompose very fast last season...which I quess is OK.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 4:29PM
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lvmygrdn(z7 MD)

I usually use mulch that breaks down quickly to enrich the soil. We have clay soil and anything that can help I'm all for. I realize I'm in the Iowa forum. I originally did a search and found your post. Hope it's okay I barged in. :-)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 6:17AM
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cherryblass

Hi, I have just brought some coco shell mulch here in the UK Enlgand, I live just outside of London in Kent.
I found this web page helpful. I didn't know that the shell is ment to be harmful to dogs! Is it the same for cats as I have two silver chinchilla's, one is only 4 months old and he is into everything. I normally used bark chippings for mulch but liked the idea of the smell of coco. I do hope the smell lasts a good while. The area for the cooc mulch is by my summerhouse so I should get my coco fix each day when I am there in it : ) See my webshots photos of the garden and the plants also photos of London and around Kent UK.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 10:41AM
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iowa50126(z5IA)

I believe that the cocoa bean shell mulch attracts dogs much like a Hershey Bar would. And, since chocolate is reputed to be not so good for man's best friend, cocoa bean mulch gets the same warning.

Ask your Vet for the pharmalogical info on CBM.

Some dogs are picky eaters and CBM would not interest them ... then there are other dogs like my neighbor's Black Lab "Belle"... shes a sweet dog but always has "poop breath"...I'd wager she'd eat anything.

If you like the cocoa bean mulch aroma...you should visit Hershey, PA USA some time. The town is home to the Hershey Co and it smells like milk chocolate 24/7.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 12:16PM
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dscheppke

I have been using the cocoa beans for about 5 years now and I do like them very much. The price in WI is very reasonable. At Wal-Mart they are just a little over $5 a bag. I like the fact that they do degrade but they seem to last about 1 year for me. In very moist locations they do not seem to last as long. A thin layer over the top of the older ones makes them look great again, however.

As far as the dogs go, I have two dogs and they have never eaten the mulch. It does seem to keep rabbits away and I think it even seems to keep the deer away from my yard. We live in a very wooded area and they are always trying to snack on my plants.

It does get a mold growing on it sometimes, but I found that if you just spray it with the hose, that goes away. I would like to mention that it would not be good for any area that you have to walk on, because it gets slippery when wet! My plants seem to love it and I like that fact that it adds to the nutrients in the soil rather than taking away nutrients as other mulches are reported to do. Afer a year or two, it can be worked into the soil.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 8:01PM
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blue_velvet_elvis

I had it and hated it. It stank to high heaven. It got mildewey and nasty and slimy. It did start out smelling good but we had to shovel it out and start over with cedar mulch.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 2:24PM
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sgou

We put the cocoa mulch down on our garden this spring and have found that we have tons of tiny little jumping-worms after watering. Has anyone ever experienced this? The worms (or larvae)are about 1/4" long, white and "jump" all over the place.

We've been gardening for years and I've never seen anything like this - I'm stumped

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 12:19PM
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eunique(6)

I, too, have the "jumping" worms. I put down 1-2" of cocoa mulch about 3 weeks ago. Last night, when I watered, I noticed hundreds of tiny white worms or larvae which jumped about a foot off the ground. Since I saw sgou's posting, I have to believe it is the cocoa mulch. Does anyone know what these are, and how to get rid of them?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 7:39PM
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lovetodance40

We too purchased the Cocoa shell mulch from Menards in Illinois. We put it in our daughters play area. Loved it at first now we're a little freaked out. We had a bit of rain today and my husband and daughter went out to check on things and they found millions of white jumping worms as discribed above. Can not seem to find out what the heck these little jumping worms are and how to get rid of them. Someone help please!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 7:58PM
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lexiladi

I am in Kentucky and purchased a hardwood mulch from a local contractor. When we got a heavy rain about a week ago, we also observed thousands of these white 'jumping' worms as described above. So it is not just the cocoa mulch that has them. Has anyone been able to identify them yet and know whether we should spray them before they become harmful to our gardens??? any help would be appreciated. thanks.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 11:58AM
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riverqueen

I purchased cocoa bean mulch at Menards in Illinois as well. After watering several times, I too have experienced these little white jumping worms. I am so glad to see that I am not alone! I have emailed the manufacturers of the mulch and I will post their response if I hear from them.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2007 at 11:33AM
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meg_lovenstamps_com

I have a different problem with the mulch... I've noticed that some plants thrive with the cocoa bean shells, while others have a really hard time. Specifically, my pumpkins are doing GREAT, while my watermelon plants are really stunted. And the rasperberries I've tried to transplant into a cocoa-bean shell covered bed have died on two occasions so far this summer.

Are the cocoa bean shells toxic to some plant varieties?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 12:09PM
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