Advice on Mulch (2 Viewers)

BoatsNBeer

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I am re-doing my gardens this week and have used cypress mulch the last few years. I find the cypress mulch looks nice the first month or so, but drains of the color pretty quickly and the finely shredded pieces seem to get matted down or blown away, leaving the big chunks. I wanted something that would look decent a longer time. I was thinking of the "red mulch". Any suggestions here?
 

buzd

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The red mulch has something in it that's not good for the plants, I think. Just the fact that it will turn your hands red while you are working with it should be a flag.

I'm tempted to say pine mulch is good, but I don't know why I think that.
 

B-Rich

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Crushed/processed pine needles. Looks nicer, lasts longer. And much better on the environment. I get mine at Perino's in Metairie. The bags are more expensive, but they actually hold more due volume per bag due to the smaller size of the pine needle mulch.

"Red Mulch" is just treated with color dye/paint, and always looks fake.

I, like you, used to always use cypress mulch, until one day I had to run a gauntlet at Wal-Mart of people asking shoppers not to buy cypress mulch on the day I happened to be getting a few bags for the garden. I tried to argue my case-- the muclch was supposedly from Florida-- not Louisiana, it was from by-products, etc. They were very nice about it, but had good responses. I did some follow-up research on the internet (particularly on the suppliers/brands of cypress mulch I usually bought) and actually they were right. A lot of the cypress in Louisiana wetland areas is being specifically harvested for mulch. So now, I don't buy it (and like you said, it fades and doesn't last as long.
 

Boudro

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If it's in your budget, get the synthetic stuff. It's a bit pricey but it lasts forever.
 
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Just move around your mulch and it will look nice again ;)
 

efil4stnias

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The red mulch has something in it that's not good for the plants, I think. Just the fact that it will turn your hands red while you are working with it should be a flag.

I'm tempted to say pine mulch is good, but I don't know why I think that.


this plus the red mulch will never decompose - instead, over time, if you top dress with soil every spring it will form a base and mold will sprout and create havoc. I used it for 2 years because of the contrast in color which, while quite appealing to the eye, it was a constant pain in the neck when we had to rake it out to top dress and re apply-
This year we went with a lanscaper and he despises that stuff. Went with regular mulch ( Pine bark i think ) that will decompose and add nutrients to the soil. But he also crowded the landscape with perennials and flowering bushes to contrast the plain green/evergreen shrubs.

If you want something to hide the soil try sweet potato vine ivy...great ground cover and its light lime green color looks good. And you only need 3 or 4 pint size plants to cover a 20' x 15' area in a matter of weeks. grows fast.

Also stay away from "chocolate mulch"- gives off an odor of chocolate, but harmful to pets and animals and probably kids too...
 

Unostang

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I used the synthetic mulch that I picked up at Sam's. So far so good, the color looks the same and it's been down for over a year. Also, it a little heavier than wood so it don't blow away in the wind.
 

mean machine

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Watching a gardening show on LPB years ago, they were discussing several different types of mulch. They were pretty emphatic that pine bark was the best for your soil/plants.
 

LogeEndZone

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I, like you, used to always use cypress mulch, until one day I had to run a gauntlet at Wal-Mart of people asking shoppers not to buy cypress mulch on the day I happened to be getting a few bags for the garden. I tried to argue my case-- the muclch was supposedly from Florida-- not Louisiana, it was from by-products, etc. They were very nice about it, but had good responses. I did some follow-up research on the internet (particularly on the suppliers/brands of cypress mulch I usually bought) and actually they were right. A lot of the cypress in Louisiana wetland areas is being specifically harvested for mulch. So now, I don't buy it (and like you said, it fades and doesn't last as long.

This is probably the group you ran into:

http://healthygulf.org/save-our-cypress/save-our-cypress-campaign.html
 

Sabine

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Cotton Burr Compost looks and works great as a mulch. It holds its rich dark brown color well and feeds the soil (instead of robbing it) like plain wood. You can put down a couple of inches and just work it into the soil the next year before adding another layer. I started using it earlier this year and my gardens have never looked this good.

My neighbor writes the gardening column for Austin American Statesman and recommended it. Her gardens are the envy of the neighborhood.


RegularCBC%20sm.jpg


http://www.backtonaturecompost.com/regularcbc.html
 
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dtc

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Go with pine bark. It lasts longer and is much better in the long run on several fronts. Pine straw is a second choice.
 

snowdog

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Agreed. Don't mess with the red mulch! It is for show only. It is not true mulch, but instead just "nuggets" of pine that never decomposes. Plus turns everything red. I think pine bark or cypress does fine, when it starts to look rough, just top dress a layer every few months.
 

TheMike62987

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Go with pine bark. It lasts longer and is much better in the long run on several fronts. Pine straw is a second choice.

I was going to say the same thing. Pine Bark is what I got my dad using now. He was using red mulch, but like the OP said, it fades very fast.
 

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