Mulch for large gardens

kntryhuman(Louisiana Z-8)July 9, 2014

What type of mulch can I use for large gardens? Cypress will cost of errors $1,000 so that's out.

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The consensus tends to be 'anything you can get free'. Go on over to Soil, Compost and Mulch and search the term. There are lots of threads there. Some people manage to get tree companies to deliver truck loads of wood chips for nothing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil, Compost and Mulch

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:22AM
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What organic material is available to you, other than stuff you have to purchase at a garden center?
Wood chips form tree trimmers may be available for free. Spoiled hay may be available, for free.
Straw, although that usually needs to be purchased.
Leaves from deciduous trees, usually available for free are one of the best mulches.
Grass clippings can be used as well.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:03AM
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kntryhuman(Louisiana Z-8)

Thank you.

I will try the tree companies.

I need enough mulch to cover areas appros. 15x50', 4x50', 3x300'.

I live in the country so there isn't much in the way of leaves, etc. because people here don't rake or have grass clippings.

I'll also post on the Soil, Compost and Mulch forum. I didn't see that one when I was trying to find the correct forum to post in.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:34AM
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I also live in the country. Some of the sources I find that are cheap or free, but most require a truck for transport.
- Spoiled hay, though it may have weed seeds - check with local farms
- If there is a sawmill near you, they probably sell their dry sawdust for animal bedding, but if they have any that is wet, you may be able to get it for free. If you can also get horse manure from a farm (around here it is free since they want to get rid of it), the two mixed together and composted hot to kill weed seeds make a great mulch for flower or veggie beds. A sawmill may also have shredded bark.
- If anyone nearby is having trees trimmed or taken down, the crews will often dump the stuff from the chipper in your yard if it's closer than their usual dump site. Likewise the local power company sends crews to trim back the lines, and they will often dump in my yard when asked nicely.
- Look at your local dump AKA transfer station. There may be a pile of wood chips from tree trimming that you can help yourself to (ask first) or leaves or lawn clippings. My local dump has a yard waste section even though we are very rural.
- Is there a woodworker near you that has shavings? I get the vast majority of my mulch from a woodturner, but a cabinet maker will have shavings from the planer. Just try to avoid trees with juglone, an aleopathic chemical produced by walnut, butternut and other trees in that family. It is not toxic to all plants, but it is to some.
- In the fall go to the nearest suburban area and help yourself to bagged leaves waiting for pickup. You may want to ask homeowners first. Chop the leaves or compost them. You will be taking chances that there may be dog feces or pesticides from lawn treatment, but I haven't run into any issues with this.

How are you pricing your mulch, by the bag? In the closest large town to me there is a bulk supplier that will deliver an 18 wheeler of mulch for much less than it would cost to buy by the bag or you can go pick it up in your own vehicle pricked by the cubic yard.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:03AM
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kntryhuman(Louisiana Z-8)

Great suggestions.

I was told not to use Pine and other wood chippings around the house because of termites. Cypress doesn't attract termites. We have horses and tons of Pine/manure but again, it will attract termites. Or am I wrong?

I got a price on a 10 yard load of Cypress mulch from a friend who sells mulch and dirt. One truck load is $320 and he said it wouldn't even cover 1/2 of the first bed.

I used to go around and pick up Oak leaves for my veggie gardens, about 200 bags a year, but after Katrina, most of the large Oaks are gone and there are very few bags put out on the street anymore.

I will check with the larger landscape companies for bagged leaves.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 1:38PM
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I am sorry, but I don't think that there are termites here, at least I have never experienced them despite have used wood chips or shavings on the ornamental beds by the house for years. Perhaps you can ask on the LA and MS forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: LA and MA forum

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Perhaps this article might help dispel some of the myths about wood chips.
Often people will make a statement that hay, or straw, used as mulch will grow "weeds" and most of what
I have seen over the many years of using both is that the growth is what the mulch is, Rye, Oats, Wheat, Alfalfa, Timothy, etc. On rare occasion I did find other plants that were quite easily dispatched and did not present a problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: About wood chip myths

This post was edited by kimmsr on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 6:55

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:51AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I use mulch in south Alabama and haven't seen any termites. They might be interested in a pallet of bagged mulch, or even a single bag, but spread on the ground, it's just not the right environment.

Don't forget to use your kitchen scraps as well, though probably not enough to provide a mulch for a large garden, every little bit helps. You can put it directly on gardens (sheet composting,) or in a compost pile to age/decompose somewhat first. I've given up on the pile thing, I don't want to move organic matter twice like that.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:31AM
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Strangely enough, there is Cypress mulch here for $2. 69 a 2 cu ft bag here in SW pa. I am aware this isn't the rott resistent Cypress wood. I would use the Pine wood mulch, or hardwood mulch, you would think is more locally availible. Well, but really, If you can find any free or cheap mulch, go for it. If there is a tree trimming company near you, take advantage of the free mulch! The other mulch is nearly $4.00 a 2 cu ft bag. I may go bulk. I may buy straw. My best friend has a flatbed trailer, I am thinking straw bales VS. Mulch bags of 2 cu ft.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:27AM
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