From our city's free mulch web page:
"For example, after leaves are collected at curbside, they are treated and
offered to the public as compost. Holiday trees are sent through a wood
chipper and converted into mulch; a material perfect for flowerbeds or other
landscaping projects (note: mulch is not suitable for vegetable gardens)."
Why is it not suitable for vegetable gardens?
"after leaves are collected at curbside, they are _treated_ and offered to
the public as compost. Holiday trees are sent through a wood chipper and
converted into mulch; a material perfect for flowerbeds or other landscaping
projects (note: mulch is not suitable for vegetable gardens). _Scrap wood_
and brush is collected and ground or chipped and returned to residents as
Might have to do with what they mean by "treated", and what kind of "Scrap
You may want to call and ask.
Many years ago the power company on Long Island, NY (when it was still
LILCO) had a program where they'd give homeowners free mulch (whatever
chipped tree limbs/brush from clearing power lines). They'd send you a
form to sign and return whereby you agree to accept a full 10 cu yd truck
load dumped in your driveway at their convenience, no prior notice when.
Imagine the shock of returning home from grocery shopping and finding a
mountain of chips (actually shredded wood) in your driveway, and I mean a
*mountain*, filled the entire 40' drive and higher than the top of the
garage opening. So it was time to move those shreds, not possible to use a
shovel on those coarse shreds, had to use a pitchfork to fill wheelbarrowful
after wheelbarrowful, took me an entire weekend and I had a heck of a time
trying to find room to put it all, I didn't have a very big property then,
so I kept filling my beds higher and higher. Anyway, that's when I learned
the hard way that free isn't always a great gift, that load of shreds was
filled with a few types of destructive insects including carpenter ants and
tent catapiller nests. I'll never again take free mulch, not even if they
pay me to take it.
OK, not knowing anything about this, but needing some mulch, I'm
"Nitrogen draw down as a result of spreading green mulch only occurs if
you mix it through the soil and then plant into it. Spreading it over
the soil surface is unlikely to cause any problems."
I was just thinking of getting some "free mulch" from the chipper
piles around the city, to trim out the non planted areas of the garden.
I'm thinking this will be OK. On another note, I have a lot of pinestraw
(pine needles), any issues with that (the bottom of the piles might be
The alternative would be some bags of commercial mulch which appears
to be either pine bark or shredded trees.
Another alternative is spreading out some of the red georgia clay
that I dug out (you could probably make pots out of this stuff). I
suppose if I spread out some weed block underneath, or even if I didn't,
nothing would grow there!
Possibly for the same reason that compost from our local sewage plant is
also not approved for use with edibles. The compost might contain
dissolved heavy metals from industrial plants or medications from people
disposing of prescriptions down the toilet. While the reclaimed water
from the sewage plant is used to irrigate green belts and golf courses,
I'm not sure it's approved for school athletic fields.
Your compost is from a variety of sources that have not been checked and
segregated. It might contain animal waste, a potential source of
disease. Our sewage plant disinfects both its compost and reclaimed
water to eliminate this problem.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
"Holiday trees" might have been treated with those bleach/borax concoctions
or flame retardants that might be bad for your garden.
Free township wood chips also harbor fungi , molds, and material from
diseased trees that you really don't want around your veggies, like the
infamous artillery fungus.
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