Mulch Bible according to Kiss My Aster!

I can tell from my Feed Burner stats that people have mulch on their minds and they want answers. Well, I have opinions and that may or may not be answers... but it's something.
Mulch is a funny thing, it's become a fashion statement in itself- many landscaping customers really prefer that "rocks and mulch" style. God help me.
  1. At the company I work for, we use excellent grade natural wood mulch. Natural colored and of varying sizes, it gets the job done gracefully. It holds moisture in and protects young trees and plants. It also fades as the summer wears on. Which people dislike. It slowly breaks down and becomes a soil additive over time. Here in the sandy soil of Northwestern Indiana, that's a good thing.

  2. Dyed mulch is of growing importance. I don't really want any of it. I think red mulch is the devil. Seriously. I &%#ing hate red mulch. I hate red mulch. It will go down on my tombstone. Is it supposed to emulate Redwood trees shredded and mulched in your garden? Because that's plain sick. Now there are other colors of dyed mulch. Not really a fan of them either and here's why. IT'S NATURE, DAMNIT. You're not supposed to have that sort of control in nature. That being said, it fades less...As a hardcore gardener, I don't want the dye on me or my clothing, I don't want my plants being fed a steady diet of chemicals and dyes. That's what we are trying to get away from with this current green movement, right? You're telling me people are paying $8 a bag for a wood byproduct to put on the ground that's been dyed? I recommend several charities first, like the Redwood Forest Fund...

  3. Rubber mulch. I like rubber mulch! It's recycled! For swing sets. And that's about all. And I think it should be a totally silly,fun color. I mean, who are you fooling? It's fun and if it gets out of place and hit by the lawn mower you will only lose part of your leg and not all of it, like you can if you use the next mulch on my list...

  4. Stone. For Jedi mulchers. Stone can never ever be lava rock. Unless you are so smoothly tongue in cheek and modern that it's a mockery of itself. Rock can never be those chunky white rocks. Pea gravel, Shale chips, river rock- that's OK but be warned. It's best for small spaces because the upkeep is MONSTER. it catches leaves and debris- and if it gets kicked up by the lawn mower you'll loose your windows and maybe an eye. To use stone correctly in the garden, go to England. They do it right. Here it's just pitiful.America England
  5. Plastic mulch isn't really mulch to me at all. I mean, I understand why it's called that but it seems a little misleading. It's more like a fabric you roll out and plant into the slits you make in the fabric. This is famous for growing better tomatoes. I give it a "Meh", and you can quote me on that.


  6. Wood chip mulch, like Cedar chips or the much more horrifying Cypress mulch- well, it's just horrifying. Cypress are the majestic indigenous trees of the Bayous of Louisiana, and I guess other places but I really just love Louisiana and let's focus on that. . PEOPLE!Haven't those people gone through enough without us denuding them of their trees? It's mulch! Get a grip... see earlier mention of mulching with our nation's treasure, Redwood trees. And Cedar mulch? Can we just have Cedars standing up right making the Earth smell like hamster cage?
  7. Well what kind of mulch do you care for, Kiss my Aster!??? I LOVE cocoa hull mulch. And yes, my dog would have eaten it and died but I told him not to. It only took once and now we're cool with it. It's a natural bi-product, smells like chocolate when it rains, it can get mixed it with the soil and become a soil conditioner. It gets slimy sometimes and yes, it gets moldy but whatever, I think it's the coolest. It's pretty too. I like small gauge mulch.

  8. I like pine bark mulch... and hardwood bark fines. They are classy and certainly a smaller gauge mulch. Very woodland garden-esque.

  9. When I worked in Chicago we sold a product by Master Nursery called Black Forest Soil Amendment and it was also billed as something you could use as mulch. it was fan-f%^&ing-tastic. Rich and crumbly, you could use it as mulch around your plant and then zing! when you had a new addition there was no scraping back of the mulch to find a hard patch of Earth... just dig on down and complete your planting destiny! Man, I gotta find more of that stuff...
  10. Ahem, Master Nursery if you'd like to make a plug for mulch swap, I'm here for you...
  11. Mulching with compost- very Jedi indeed. Can be done if you've got enough of the Brown Gold Cadillac. You must be cautious that the compost indeed is "done". But yeah, bravo if you have enough to do this with! I'm envious! Oh, mushroom compost stinks in an completely unreal fashion, so do that at your own risk...

  12. My favorite mulch, no mulch. Lots of plants. Low ones under tall ones, no ground showing. I know mulch provides many benefits. But bah humbug. I'm so sick of mulch.


Important to know. You really shouldn't ever have more than 3" of the stuff in your beds. Sometimes you gotta scrape some off before you add more. You'll drown your plants. And speaking of, you should never have mulch in contact with your trees' trunks because you can get your trees all kinds of sick that way. And you want to keep mulch outta the crowns of your perennials too- 'specially your roses. Bad news.

EXCEPT in the fall when you're providing extra protection to the yard babies. If it weren't for a crapload of cocoa hull mulch we wouldn't be looking at photos of my Redbud, ornamental Rhubarb or Cardoon.

There are mulches I didn't mention. What do you use? My plan this year is cocoa hulls in front, nada in back...