1. Ask the Expert: Fertilization Strategies for Success: Dec. 12, 2017
    Learn how to do more with less when it comes to your fertilization services. Join the live Ask the Expert event hosted by Koch Turf & Ornamental: Dec. 12, 12-2 p.m. ET in the Fertilizer Application forum .

"Sour Mulch"

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by hockeygoalie, May 26, 2005.

  1. hockeygoalie

    hockeygoalie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I mulched a housing complex for a HOA last friday. Saturday morning everything in the mulch beds was brown and dead looking. Needless to say the complaints were rolling like a fat boy to a twinkie. I had the deer in the headlight look. I thought maybe there was diesel fuel in the mulch. I read about sour mulch. I didnt remember an ammonia smell, but it didnt smell like fresh cut trees. We had a lot of rain, and some things came back a bit, but it looks terrible. Do anyone have any experience with toxic mulch.

    BENTLEY'S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I had a batch this year smell like ammonia. 10 yards. Killed the grass around the flower beds but luckily didn't kill any shrubs. This was for a good customer to. I was more pissed off than she was. Good customers are hard to find. Supplier just blew me off. O well thats my last order from him.

    Bentley's Lawn Care
  3. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 608

    Where did you buy your mulch from? I bought some mulch from the SPSA and it did smell sour, but it didn't kill anything.
  4. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 220

    i had a load last year and was told to add lime to it-after the fact lawn, perennials and annuals were dying. I took pictures and told the supplier to make it right. He delivered all year for free-1000 yards-still sucked.
  5. hockeygoalie

    hockeygoalie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I read this stuff gets a ph about 1-2. Its real acidic and filled with ammonia and methane gas. The mulch didnt get turned over a few times while curing at the distributor. The rain has helped, but I have 35 pissed off customers in that development.
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Pull it off and redo the whole thing with good mulch and make those pissed off people happy that you have taken care of the problem.

    I would have requested in a loud voice(insisted in fact)that the supplier pick up the bad stuff and remove it from the vicinity for free and I sure would not pay the bill for it.
    You can usually tell if mulch is not cured yet,inspect before you buy.
    Don't order over phone tell you look at what your gonna be getting.Bad mulch will smell
    (I am sure you smelled something.)And will look like it's not aged when turned over.That supplier would be in a heck of a hurt until I was compensated for my time and the bad mulch
  7. hockeygoalie

    hockeygoalie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    you are right it did smell "funny" but the the ammonia smell that some articles suggest. It was very dark, fully cured. I think it sat too long without them turning it to release the gas. The mulch looked good, just turned all the plants dark brown overnight. removing it and replacing it would not have solved the damage to the plants. It is a 35 house unit. lots of trees and planters real close together.

Share This Page