Town supplied mulch?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by marlingardener, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    The local tree-trimmers are busy in town, and they have a chipper/shredder in action. I can take the pick-up truck into town and get a truckload of the material for free.
    The problem is, I don't know what is in it, how "green" it is, and if I want to introduce this into my beloved garden soil.
    I am torn because I need an incredible amount of mulch and "free" is a big attraction (told you I was frugal/cheap!). What is your experience with municipal mulch? Do you use it on the vegetables, or only on ornamentals?
     
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  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    I would ask...."what is being trimmed?" Do you have black walnuts that far South? IF there is any question about what is in it...leave it alone. What do you have that is toxic to plants in your area? anything in the Jugans family? Butternut, walnut, etc.? Those all will suppress or even kill plants that are exposed to the chemical and it takes years to break down.
    You can always get it and pile it up for the next year or so if you are worried about it being too green.
     
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  4. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I don't know about your area but up here you put down wood chips of anything except cedar you could find yourself with a large termite colony in a year or two.

    Walnut Blight is too common for most Walnut species to be grown this far south but there is a native Texas Black Walnut species Juglans microcarpa, it isn't grown very much as a landscape tree, more an orchard tree. The most popular landscape and junk trees that I am familiar with are Hackberry, Chinaberry, Pecan, Maple, Oak (Live and Burr in particular), Bradford Pear, Catalpa, Mimosa, Crepe Myrtle...and others that I am not familiar with but are common.

    I would be more concerned with what's been sprayed on them by the homeowner, landscape company or city parks department and how long it stays with the tree that might spread to your garden soil.

    If the tree trimming is being done to keep electrical lines clear or to clean up storm damage, then most likely the wood is not aged at all. But like Carolyn said you could pile some up to let age for a year or so before using.
     
  5. waretrop

    waretrop Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    You want to talk about an incredible amount of mulch? One tri axle truckload is about 22 cubic yards of mulch. I hire a guy to bring me mulch. He overloads it to 26 cubic yards. We actually measured it one time. That was enough. So we get over 3 loads. Plus what we carried by ourselves. That's 78 plus cubic yards every year for 6 years.

    We pay this guy per load and it is worth every penny since we are saving thousands anyway.

    We get it from the county mulch place for a few dollars. Even though you don't know what you are getting, it has worked for me.

    My plants and gardens are wonderful. If there is anything bad in there I think it would be thinned out when spread.
     



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  6. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    I did that once when they were trimming the trees from power lines. Had them dump a truck full. All I got out of it was bugs and ants,,,lots and lots of ants. Thankfully it rotted within a year.
     
  7. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Thanks to y'all, I think I'll get one truck-load of the mulch, put it in a separate place, and let it sit over the summer, and maybe even until next spring, according to how it looks.
    If this works out, I can get more and repeat the process.
    Lordy, I hadn't even thought of ants!
     
  8. waretrop

    waretrop Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    I have never got ants but I know it's freshly ground and I use it right away. I did have ants in an old tree that was rotting in the back of my property. We used poison and got rid of them.

    I guess every place may be different but we can watch all the stuff being ground before they open up to the public. It also doesn't last long so you have to get there quickly. That way you also know it's fresh.

    We also get double ground mulched. That is real nice. Also, mine is free I just have to pay the driver and truck, He makes good money too.
     
  9. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    They were coming down my road so I asked and they just unloaded the truck at my house. MG,, don`t put it close to your garden. Bugs love rotting wood.
     
  10. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Mart, I had thought to put it in the field, in back of the barn where there is nothing but grass. There is a spot of some nasty weedy stuff there and we are hoping that while the mulch breaks down, it will kill off the weedy stuff.
    It should be far enough from any garden to do no bug damage (fingers crossed!).
     
  11. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    That should work OK. Yes it should kill those weeds and stuff. Or act like compost and make it grow like crazy once you move the mulch. You know,, you might get one of those cheapy plastic tarps and put it down first then put the mulch on it. That would keep weed seed from getting into the mulch. Keep it much cleaner for the garden.
     
  12. waretrop

    waretrop Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Oh yes Mart, We use a tarp under our dump load and over it also.

    You all wanna know what I think about mulch? I never knew what it was until I began to get it, on the insistence of the hubby. It really dresses up a garden but only lasts that year.

    It does keep down weeks but not after the first year. The best thing is that it holds the moisture on the ground and around the plants especially if they are newly planted. That's what I learned the second year we did it.

    It also makes such beautiful soil down deep. We have mostly rock. What is in my gardens from the mulch is unbelievable.

    I am hoping that I can turn most of my mulch over and not add so much this Spring.

    I AM SURE GLAD MY HUBBY INSISTED ON US GETTING MULCH.

    I wonder how it would be in our veggie gardens??? :eek: Just thinking outloud.
     
  13. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    Mart, we have tarps in the barn left over from when we moved here and had to cover equipment until we got the shed cleared out. Great idea! We will do that. Thank you!
    Barb, we use grass clippings, rotted hay, leaves for the vegetable gardens. I am reluctant to use municipal mulch because I don't know what went into it. The grass is from our yard, the rotted hay from our neighbor, and the leaves from our trees or from the pecan trees down by Sandy Creek (and yes, folks do look at me strangely while I am raking leaves by the creek and tossing them into the pick-up bed!).
     
  14. waretrop

    waretrop Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    :D :D marlingardener You are too funny.

    We used to use grass clippings, and certainly have enough grass to do that, but our mower that the grass clipper worked on died. I must get that thing working again. I do love grass clippings in the veggie garden.

    Thank you for that idea.
     
  15. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I use municipal mulch every year. We here have access to two types: compost and wood chips. I use them both.

    I will say that I do not use the wood chips around my plants when they are still green. I use them on my paths. After one or two years, I shovel the paths empty and refill them with fresh, green chips. The old, composted chips I then place around the bases of shrubs, trees and plants in the flower garden.
    I really think that you ought to go for the free chips. You can find a use for them one way or the other. You use them now or later---a win-win situation for you.
     

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