Mulch choices

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by captn, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. captn

    captn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    cedar, cypress, pine, bark.......

    Besides look and price, why choose one over the others? I am removing a section about 7x50 feet of lava rock in front of my house., and want to know my options for disposing of the rock and putting down Mulch.

    How much do I need? I only see that it comes in 2CF bags at the Box stores.

  2. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,169

  3. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    Black mulch IMO looks the best..Just did a little project my self this week and used black mulch.
  4. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Cedar is a great mulch as it is a natural pest deterrent. It has a slight red color, bit not obnoxious like the dyed red mulch. Cedar often lasts longer than some of the more common mulches, so on;t a light coating maybe needed next season to freshen it up.

    Cypress is becoming harder to get and more expensive due to it's limited availability. The amount of cypress trees being removed is way down. It does make a great organic mulch that lasts a long time and keeps it's color.

    Pine mulches may tend to float in heavy rains and may attract more insects than the other types of mulch, due to it's soft nature. Pine can also be very acidic, which may have an adverse affect on your soil. Usually at the bottom of my choices.

    Bark mulches, if actually bark are excellent. They will tend to be relatively long lasting and as they break down should be feeding the soil. It is important to verify the mulch has been composted properly to destroy any pathogens that may remain from the trees it was harvested from.

    Colored or dyed mulches can be a problem, depending on the source of the wood. Nost dyed red mulch is made from ground pallets, and that is not good. Because the processed wood is stable, it dyes well, but will steal nitrogen from the soil in large amounts to assist in the mulch decaying process. Often black or brown dyed are made from the same processed wood and can lead to the same problems. The addition of a nitrogen source, like blood meal, can offset the robbing nature of these materials.

    Root mulches can be a great source of mulch and nutrients for the plants, but if not processed correctly can contain a large amount of soil from the roots. Any organic mulch you install should be put down at around 2"-3", be kept away from the stems or trunks of plants and not applied on top of landscape fabric. If you have a concern for weeds, Preen or a similar pre-emergent herbicide can be applied preferably before, but also after the mulch is laid down.

    As for getting rid of the lava rock, good luck. You may be able to find someone working on water features that may want it,but most folks have discovered the pitfalls of rock mulches and don't want to repeat the situation you are rectifying.

  5. jkason

    jkason LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 546

    There is also another choice - Rubber mulch.

    Dyed rubber from used tires. No steel in the stuff, just used tread.
  6. captn

    captn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    Is it much cheap to have 3 yards delivered from a lawn and garden center rather than buy 44 bags?

    Also, what the heck do I do with all of that Lava Rock?
  7. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Depends on the product you choose as to the pricing. here I can buy cedar mulch in bags for less than bulk, by the yard. Most other products are cheaper in bulk, but there will be delivery fees. Bags do have a great convenience factor for a small job like yours. Another advantage with bags, is you get exactly what you pay for and if there is extra, rather than pile it on,you can use it in another location, save it for additional projects or take the unused bags back to the supplier.You can always use the empty bags to load up the lava rock and sell it or offer it for free if hauled off.

    A few cautions on rubber mulch. It is not dyed, but coated. Processed rubber does not accept dyes. Rubber mulch adds no nutritional value to the soil and it will have to be added to in the future. It does not break down, but certainly seems to slowly disappear. It tends to float in heavy rain and the color can fade and be rubbed off. It does have it's use for a playground surface, but cost can be a mitigating factor.

  8. captn

    captn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    So Home Depot has 2CF cypress bags for $2.50...Is this good?

    And again, where do I get rid of the Lava Rock?:hammerhead:
  9. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    Ya, that's a pretty good $$, but you'll get it cheaper if you can find it by the truckload.

    I'm not sure where you'd get rid of the lava rock - the last time I got rid of any stuff like that, I had to take it to the dump.
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334


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