Mulch Quality

aloha2009October 18, 2012

I haven't actually done the calculations but I know I will need a LOT of mulch. To save some money, I was thinking of bringing in some free mulch that tree trimmers will give away free to get rid of it and then the top 2" put something more attractive.

Has anyone had any experience with getting free mulch from tree trimmers? Do you use it as is, or did you grind it up further. How good is it typically for the soil? How thick to you keep your mulch to deter weeds? I was going to place newspaper down first instead of the nasty fabric that I pulled up.

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I got a truckload once. It was great stuff!

However, here is a real cautionary note: It took me 3 pickup loads to get it out of my driveway and to a distant garden. I was hauling it out about this time of year and bad weather slowed me down. My last load was full of that white fungus that gets in such things. I had just about the worst respiratory infection ever! And, I've had pneumonia twice in my life at other times.

I also hauled willow chips down the hill in a wheelbarrow to use as mulch in my garden. The chips were in a parks department lot & I asked for permission after I realized how easy the job would be . . .

What the wood chips amount to depends on what kind of tree went thru the chipper. Also, the willow chips were quite large and not only worked well suppressing weeds but didn't decay quickly, they also looked nice.

The spruce was only 2 doors down from my house and I was a little surprised when the neighbor had it taken out. The chips were a lot smaller but it lasted well. There were lots of needles in it initially and that probably accounted for so much mold.

Yes, put down several layers of newspapers. I can't imagine that it a good idea to actually incorporate it into the garden soil for years & years. Wear a mask!!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:39AM
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david52 Zone 6

I had a similar experience to Steve's. When the tree trimming crew went down the road clearing stuff away from the power lines, I got lucky and drove by just as they were getting started early in the morning. I stopped and asked them if they'd do me a favor and run everything through the chipper thingie and dump the day's result in my driveway, and said I'd make it worth their while. So they did so, happy not to have to drive all the way to the dump and I gave them a $20 to buy some beer.

I had I dunno how many cubic yards of green chipped stuff, and it was heavy. And then it started to compost, and while I didn't mind the odor, the Better Half wasn't exactly thrilled. It only took me two weeks to get it all shifted.

But its great stuff for the garden. :-)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for your responses.

The statement of not decaying quickly was something I heard as a potential problem. I'm not sure exactly what it was though considering it would be nice not to have to replenish so often.

Seeing it so often on CL for free, I wouldn't be able to dictate what kind of trees the chips would come from. It sounds like it's the luck of the draw. I just wouldn't want to create a problem if some trees chips cause other issues.

That it looks acceptable is a good thing. Where I use to live the city ground them up and gave them away. I assume it was about the same look as I would be getting now which is perfectly acceptable. Considering the amount we need, what is acceptable is pretty broad.

We've got some moving around of dirt first to do, but hopefully we can get something down before winter totally sets in.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:39PM
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I used tree trimmers' mulch last year and it was fine. I, too, have suffered from mold infection from breathing spores while working with mulch. So now I always wear a mask when spreading the stuff. You can also get a nasty breathing infection from powdery mildew.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:09PM
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That is so surprising to hear about the infections from the mold...I would never have thought of wearing the mask. You likely saved me and my DH from getting sick if it's that prevalent.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 6:36PM
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One of these is what we are talking about, Aloha.

It is probably what is called "farmer's lung." The same thing can happen with moldy hay.

Linked below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Respiratory Illnesses Associated with Agriculture

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 9:30PM
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I lucked out today and just made some arrangements for the tree trimmer at my employer to dump what they will be chopping up this week. It will have maples, pines and various other trees. It looked great! Though I'll wear a mask, won't it be a lot better if it hasn't been sitting around for a long time?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Posted by aloha2009 . . . Though I'll wear a mask, won't it be a lot better if it hasn't been sitting around for a long time?


And, it sounds like a great blend.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:18AM
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