Ideas for cheap mulch.

Discussion in 'Flower Gardening' started by EileenT, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. EileenT

    EileenT New Seed

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    I need a lot of mulch and don't have much to spend on it. I know I can use straw, pine needles, etc. but I don't have access to those products. Is there anything else I can use?
     



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  2. fish_4_all

    fish_4_all In Flower

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    I have seen some on here recommend dried grass clippings and they should be fairly easy to get either from your own yard or from neighbors.
     
  3. blackrose

    blackrose In Flower

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    also add old newspapers
     
  4. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    If you use grass clippings from a neighbor, be sure they didn't use any chemical products on the that could transfer to your plants.
     
  5. civicboyfl

    civicboyfl New Seed

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    I heard about using oak leaves and I tried it. The only problem was: they were so light, they did stick around for very long. They all got blown away or washed into my yard. I guess if I had a raised border, it would work better.
     
  6. gardentoad

    gardentoad Seedling

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    I'm not sure how much you mean by "a lot" but I used to get the wood chips from a service that cuts tree limbs out of the power lines for the power company.
    I called the power company and they sent me a release form that I mailed to the place that does the work.They didn't schedule it, you just get on a list for it.
    It is green so it has to set a few weeks and cook a while. They dump a truck load so you would only do this if you need a lot.

    It's free.

    One year I got a load in December and it was very nice, no leaves just wood chips.

    Some of the public parks around here take in christmas trees for a month in the winter and runs them through a chipper then they sell it pretty cheap.

    I don't know if they do any of this in your area.

    This year when I cut down my tall grasses in the early spring I cut them into pieces about 10" long and dropped it in the surrounding gardens for mulch. It looks like straw but I think later I will just sprinkle a thin layer of wood chip mulch over it and at least I won't have to make the wood chip mulch as thick.
     
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  7. kkluv155

    kkluv155 Seedling

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    My hubbys cousin has a shop where he makes cypress swings and rockers. Because the wood does not have to be treated there are no chemicals. He sales the wood shavings by the (lawn and leaf) bag full for 2 dollars a bag. But sorry to say that he in not my hubbys favorite cousin so I haven't gotten any in a while. Now I use oak leaves. I have a raised border so they don't blow away.
     
  8. Jewell

    Jewell Incorrigible Gardener Plants Contributor

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    I mulch a lot with most anything that doesn't include seeds (I don't use grass clippings) and will lay down and stay.

    I have ivy hedges so the clippings are gathered and run over with the lawn mower for my favorite mulch. I also prune my fruit trees in the summer and use their trimmings after we run over them with the old lawn mower. Leaves in the fall stay in place better if you take the time to shred them with a lawn mower also. We have an old mower designated exclusively for the shredding jobs.

    All junk mail, old bills, etc is shredded and used as a mulch. Newspaper is lovely gray colored and is really nice also. Colored print should probably not be used on vegetable areas, but black ink is all pretty much vegetable/soy based now. I invested in a good paper shredder and it is my friend. I have even brought home shredded paper from work for garden beds. Last month I used an old wool blanket my dog chewed holes into for a flower bed (I did cover it with fir needles). I also use the smaller winter blown fir branches and they are laid on some beds, especially the acid loving plant beds.

    Cardboard boxes look awful, but if you are creating a new bed they are fantastic for killing grass and weeds, and later punching holes in the semi-decayed cardboard and planting. If you hate the look of the cardboard a sack of clean mulch, bark or garden soil will make it less unsightly. If the cardboard is left covered over the winter it is the best method for starting new beds with the least amount of work I have found. Beds I started two years ago with this method have had no weed problems. Turning the soil brings old weed seeds to the surface to sprout.

    My climate is damp, so adding moisture to help with the decomposition is not a factor. Mulches should be kept watered occasionally to help with decomposition and provide a home for worms.

    Just think about whether the material is organic or not and use whatever is most plentiful in your world.

    Happy gardening :stew1:
     
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  9. daisybeans

    daisybeans Hardy Maple

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    Jewell -- those are some great ideas, especially the shredded paper.
     
  10. garengeek

    garengeek New Seed

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    I always buy my mulch from a local soil and rock yard. It's where a lot of landscapers go for their stuff. I spend about 18 bucks a yard for a nice black bark mulch they sell. I think 1 yard of it will cover 200 sq. ft of area with 2" of mulch. I have a large garden with big beds front and back, and I use around 4 yards to cover it all.

    moderator's note: removed website link, see point 1.1 of usage rules
     
  11. drissel122

    drissel122 In Flower

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    Great question and a lot of good ideas...I will put some to use next year.
     
  12. simonadams

    simonadams New Seed

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    go to a saw mill or some place that chops wood. Fill plastic boxes and once home you could even color them with food dye.
     
  13. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Eileen, collect leaves, spread them out on your lawn, and run the lawn mower over them once or twice. It works even better if you have a bagging mower. We use chopped/shredded leaves as mulch in the flower beds, herb beds, and when needed, in the vegetable garden. They decompose rather quickly and have to be renewed yearly, but they are free, they are visually attractive, and shredded, they don't blow around, even with our Texas winds.
     
  14. petervd123

    petervd123 New Seed

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    Well,check the stuff you throw away like newspapers,food,boxes and so on. Well,i am sure you have a garden so take the grass cuttings,leaves.
     
  15. Coppice

    Coppice In Flower

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    If you have a way to pick it up. And a saw mill near you, they often shred and compost bark. The closest one to my last residence charged $20.00 per pick up truck load if you got it yourself. Thats a couple cubic yards...
     

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