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Mulch killed the color?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Busa_bill, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Busa_bill

    Busa_bill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    I planted 5 flats of color and used a local mulch grind to top the beds. I've used this stuff before without any problem. I amended the soil, added fertilizer to the mix and applied root stimulator. So far so good? I go back to the yard a week later and all of the color is dying. It looks burnt. We've had tons of rain, so I know it isn't from lack of water.

    Here's the kicker - I had some of this mulch left over from that job that I put into my own beds. Perennials surrounded by the new mulch are dying. Plants that I didn't mulch around are fine. I can see exactly where we stopped as we ran out of the mulch. WTH??? I plan on going back to the mulch dealer to ask if anyone else had problems with it, but I'm expecting them to say that all is well. Was there a herbicide on some of the green waste they ground up? Has anyone else ever had this issue? Thanks.
  2. billslawn89

    billslawn89 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,365

    is the mulch from ground up trees or just wood pallets? i've heard that you have to let the fresh ground up tree mulch set awhile because it has alot of nitrogen in the wood...i don't know how true that is or if i'm talking about the same thing you are...
  3. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    Could be herbicide or alleopathic trees being used to make the mulch (walnuts in particular).
  4. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Messages: 4,350

    probably a fungus or bacteria in the mulch.
  5. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    added fertilizer
  6. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    If the mulch is hardwood that was freshly ground, the natural process of decay pulls nitrogen out of the ground (Nitrogen fixation). We never use mulches around annuals. The only way to help is to add nitrogen and iron to the plants if it isn't too late.
    Colored mulches aren't much better and will kill young plants and annuals
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I think it could be time to go plant shopping and for more than the obvious reasons...

    Because if you ever want cheap plants, I would at least swing past HD and Lowe's and see what they have...
    And you might not find the absolute best most beautiful specimens around (if they even have one of that)
    but I can tell you THIS is almost always the time of the year their prices are reduced for that exact reason.

    Here's the thing...
    If you take it upon yourself to fix the problem, it is somewhat less likely the customer will have a conniption.
    You do want to find something darn close thou, don't get the scrawniest one if that's all they have pass it up.

    I've gotten Azaleas for as low as $2 each before, just as an example, not half bad looking at all.
    And sure they're the small 1-gallon things, but when it's my expense who cares?
    It's a whole lot easier to apologize about tiny replacements vs. the burnt up ones later.

    Then again it might cost you 10-20-30-40 dollars, I can't say what their prices would be.

    One more thing, I would definitely inform the customer asap, don't hope they won't notice
    because if (or should I say when) they do that could be very bad news.

    Hope that helps
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  8. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Good advice, Topsites.

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