First, don't know why GardenWeb insists I'm in Zone 7. I believe we are in Zone 8 (Dallas/Fort Worth area). Anywho, what's the best mulch to use in the garden?
I need lots so prefer the Texas Pure that I can get by the pickup load.
Where do you get Texas Pure?
Maybe gardenweb is using an older zone hardiness map. The latest zone map has zone 8 bulging north into dfw, but dfw was solidly in zone 7 in older maps. There was no zone 8 bulge.
Check with your city trash co. Here in San Antonio you get it free for rough ground or ? cents a pound for a twice ground.
I go by the USDA map which shows all of Dallas County in 8a.
Personally, I prefer pine straw, but it is not so abundant in this area, so you have to buy it. But a little goes a long way. Mostly I go to the dump and get a whole truckload for free! Here in Mesquite, where I live, I can get one truckload of either mulch or compost free each and every month.
Texas Pure is from Plano's composting program. Here's a link with more info
Here is a link that might be useful: http://plano.gov/Departments/Environmental%20Services/yarddebris/Texas_Pure/Pages/default.aspx
I use ground up leaves from the trees in my yard and from bags of leaves I picked up off of neighbors' curbs in the fall. I bought one of those leaf vacs and it does a great job. The nice thing about the leaves is that they hide a multitude of "sins" unlike pinestraw and bark. Fallen twigs, fallen leaves etc. just seem to blend into the leaf litter. It's a little time-consuming in the fall, but well worth the effort.
Oh, one more thing. I used the leaves to insulate some semi-tropicals like Mexican Heather and Cigar plant during our February cold snap in Ft. Worth, and they worked like a charm. All my tropicals came back this spring. The worms love the leaves, too.
I love shredded leaves too! I managed to overwinter my Pride of Barbados this past winter under 12 inches of shredded oak leaves and I'm north of Fort Worth.