View Full Version : last years mulch any good?

04-03-2004, 08:55 PM
My supplier still has a huge pile of hardwood mulch from last year and isnt making mor till this stuff is almost gone. My question is this stuff still good or should I be trying to find someone with fresh mulch. I picked up a couple of yards from him the other day for an install and when I got to the middle of the pile it was dusty and almost moldy(whitish) looking. What do you guys think? I have a job in the morning and wonder where I should go for my mulch. Oh, he told me that it was whitish cause he hadn't churned that pile up and that the next stuff would be ok. Just checkin if I'm being conned. His stuff really is the cheapest around so I would really like to use it but if it is no good I'm not gonna cheat the customer.

04-03-2004, 09:13 PM
Thats obserd that he is still selling last years mulch. He should either be giving it away or getting rid of it. Unless mulch in constantly turned it does go bad and get moldy just sitting in a pile. I would not use this mulch for a paying customer if i were you.

04-03-2004, 10:34 PM
I could be wrong but would not the mold go away as soon as it hits the sun? I myself prefer aged mulch as fresh mulch robs nitrogen as it breaks down, so any thing that has already broke down is better in my view.

04-03-2004, 11:04 PM
That is pretty much what happen at the first install. I spread it and it kind of went away(the whitish mold).

04-03-2004, 11:05 PM
Hey evan, you guys make the big bucks up there in montgo huh?

04-04-2004, 01:08 AM
As soon as he turns it, it should be fine. My uncle ages the mulch he makes the same way and you should see the color and aroma that comes out of the piles he has.

04-04-2004, 09:14 AM
Geez ...we have a pile of about 90 cubic yards left (shredded cedar mulch)... I've never heard of it going bad. We usually time it so we are just about out but we got shut down a little early last fall. I'll have to check it out.

04-04-2004, 02:47 PM
Mulch never really does go bad, as long as its in a pile, turn it over a couple of times, add some newer, fresher mulch to it and it should be fine, it only loses color when it has had direct sunlight.

D Felix
04-04-2004, 05:26 PM
About the only downside I have ever noticed to older piles of bark mulch is that it tends to lose it's color sooner after being spread.

If your supplier isn't getting any more for a while, use it, if you aren't happy, ask for a discount and pass the savings on to the client. Discuss it with them first before you spread the mulch though...

Kris- I doubt that shredded cedar goes bad... That's the nature of cedar though. Bark mulch is different though. Where are you located at, BTW?


04-04-2004, 08:38 PM
I used the stuff today and After we dug in to the pile a little it was nice stuff. I could see it possiblly losing color faster. Thats a good point.

06-06-2004, 12:11 AM
Tj where do ya get the mulch? heard the some one off of price town road for 15.00 for black dyed but can't rember the name.

06-06-2004, 02:51 AM
the problem with "old" mulch isnt mold or color. the olde the mulch the sooner it turns to dirt. you'll have to go look at it to see if its any good. youve prolly noticed sometimes mulch has more larger pieces, others it has some larger pieces bu alot of "heavy" dust. the later is older mulch. it wont last as long.

if you remulch every year, this shouldnt be a problem, if not, the mulch will be gone.

06-07-2004, 07:36 AM
Mulch that sits for long periods of time will being to produce a chemical harmful to plants. Can't remember exactly what it is right now. If he turned it during the winter it should be fine, but why risk killing your clients plants?

06-07-2004, 11:23 PM
Ok, I found it. The term for it is "sour mulch" and it's caused by mulch that ahs been sitting too long, with too much moisture. The mulch be comes toxic to plants...

"Toxicity of sour mulch is caused by by-products of the decomposition process, such as methane, alcohol, ammonia gas, or hydrogen sulfide gas, that build up to levels toxic to plant growth. Symptoms of mulch toxicity occur within 24 hours after application and include marginal leaf chlorosis, leaf scorch, defoliation, and/or death of plants. "

(Originally published by Mary Ann Hansen, Diagnostician, Plant Clinic, and Jim May, Research Associate, CSES, in The Virginia Gardener Newsletter, Volume 11, Number 7.)

D Felix
06-08-2004, 10:55 PM
That's the first I'd ever heard of "sour mulch"

Somehow I doubt it's ever a problem. Something tells me that the study was an "extreme" example. You'd have to be going straight from the pile to the bed, with little turning involved, and I doubt that most woody plants would be harmed. Perennials and annuals possibly....

Have you got a link to that story? I'd like to read it, somehow I'm just not buying it....


06-08-2004, 11:14 PM
Here's the link....


Heard about it first on the "In the garden" radio show.