How to buy a good bulk mulch
Mulch adds beauty to gardens and, potentially, nutrients to soil. While it's been around for a long time, its impact on our gardens is often misunderstood. When choose a mulch, here are a few things to look for and consider.
Finding a quality mulch with 4 easy steps
With a few simple questions and knowing what to look for in a quality mulch, it can be pretty straightforward to find a good mulch to help you grow better and prettier gardens. All you have to do it look, smell, touch, and ask!
Mulch should be brown or slightly darker, even when you break open a piece. If the inside is white or has a green-ish tint, it may not be processed correctly or could contain recycled wood.
Smell for a woody, earthy smell. If you get a scent of alcohol, rotten eggs, or vinegar, it's likely that the mulch contains wood alcohol and could harm your plants.
Mulch should spread evenly and easily. If it feels clumpy or you think you'll have to spread it multiple times, it may not be made correctly.
"Fresh" or uncured mulches are common and cheap. Unfortunately, they can introduce weed seeds to your garden and could be made with chemically treated wood.
All mulches should be cured to kill weed seeds and allow the material to start breaking down so it can feed your soil.
The starting wood has a large impact on its value to plants and soils.
White wood: A porous wood that is frequently used in dyed mulches because it holds the color a long time. This wood often comes from construction, pallets, or crates that may contain lead paint, arsenate, or other chemicals that can harm garden and soil life.
Mixed wood: Branches from tree trimmings and storms often used for non-dyed or natural mulches. This most closely mimics nature.
Hardwood: These mulches last the longest and are usually a natural wood. Many companies have mixed wood that they market as a hardwood so you need to trust the company making the mulch.