Are you a “before” or an “after” mulcher?

Planting annual displays is not (at all) my favorite gardening pastime, but we do some "color" around our events building and along the garden entrance to make the area pop during our busy season. Those of you who install institutional or commercial color beds are familiar with the process  – yank out last season’s annuals/tulips/whatever, … Continue reading Are you a “before” or an “after” mulcher?

Cypress mulch re-visited

After Jeff’s recent eclectic musical selection of Rasputina’s 1816, I thought I’d go a little more mainstream with Lynard Skynard’s ‘Swamp music’.  Turn it up and remember; if it’s too loud, you’re too old. So, what got me thinking about the swampy backwoods down South and the late, great Ronnie Van Zant?  The arrival of … Continue reading Cypress mulch re-visited

Mulch: Just Do It

A follow-up to Linda’s post about a recent study in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry that indicated mulch may not reduce evaporation of water from soil as we generally assume and which suggested that landscapers may want to re-evaluate their mulching practices.  As Linda noted, we have some real concerns about this conclusion and believe that … Continue reading Mulch: Just Do It

Toxic mulch: When shredded bark goes bad

We typically think of mulching landscape beds as a good thing.  And it usually is; helping to conserve soil moisture, reducing soil temperatures and contributing to soil organic matter.  Recently, however, I received an e-mail from a local landscaper that reported severe damage to annuals and perennials in a landscape bed immediately after applying hardwood … Continue reading Toxic mulch: When shredded bark goes bad

Sheet mulching – benefit or barrier?

Alert reader Matt Wood pointed out a recent article in the NY Times on mulching with newspaper and wondered about my take on the topic. For use on landscapes, I do not like sheet mulches of any stripe.  They tend to hinder to air and water movement, most especially in unmanaged landscapes like restoration sites.  A classic … Continue reading Sheet mulching – benefit or barrier?

Rubber mulch – the discussion continues

Almost a year ago I posted my complaints about rubber mulch (you can find the posting here).  This week I was contacted by Jesse, a purveyor of rubber mulches.  We’ve had a very civil discussion about the topic, and he asked me to review his fact sheet. Which leads me to today’s assignment. I have no … Continue reading Rubber mulch – the discussion continues

Why won’t landscapers use mulch?

A few weeks ago I was in Olympia (it misses you Bert!) reviewing grant applications.  As I tend to do whenever I have time and my camera, I set out in search of gardening goofs that evening.  Here’s the edge of a relatively new commercial site I discovered: OK, not too bad so far.  We’ve got a … Continue reading Why won’t landscapers use mulch?

Pigmented Mulch in Paradise

Just back from a quick vacation to Little Cayman island.  Truly a dot on the map – the whole island is about 7 miles long and a mile wide. Only 150 locals and a couple hundred tourists are on island at any one time.  It’s beyond laid back, with few attractions other than the resident … Continue reading Pigmented Mulch in Paradise

Will cocoa mulch kill my dog?

Recently I was asked to comment about a rash of e-mails floating around cyber-space concerning the toxicity to dogs of mulch made from crushed cocoa bean hulls.  Cocoa mulch is by-product of cocoa production.  The dark brown mulch is aesthetically and aromatically pleasing, giving the garden a rich, chocolately scent.  Since theobromine, a naturally occurring … Continue reading Will cocoa mulch kill my dog?