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I broke away from using bagged mulch this year. I have three new sources for wood chip mulch: the local park service, the power company tree trimmers, and landscapers who cut down trees.
The Park Service (Montgomery County, Maryland) had too much mulch and generously delivered a dump truck's worth to an area our neighbors cleared of vines and overgrowth (near the Park Service operations center, so it was great for them, too).
Other neighbors phoned or went out to the power company tree trimmers while they were working in our area, and dumping their freshly chipped branches saved them time.
Thirdly, I got two loads of mulch, one from a lot development site behind my house and another from a Craigslist landscaper who needed to dump his freshly chipped, clean tree.
I used mulch to cover bare roots around a beech tree, creating a dramatic circle with sprigs of ground-cover. I used chips to level out my earthen driveway, which slanted towards our foundation.
To manage a pile of mulch at the end of your driveway, use the shovel at the bottom edges of your pile; it gives and is easy to load up your shovel. I loaded into plastic tubs and wheeled trashcans for easy relocation to specific sites (garden, trees).
I heard that wood chips damage tender roots of seedlings, due to the nitrogenous heat created by decomposition; however, my plants are thriving spectacularly with this mulch. Perhaps the water preserving mulch aspect outweighed the heat nature in my case. Cover your mulch pile with a tarp if it rains, to keep it light and fluffy for easier removal. And sing some good work songs while moving your mountain of mulch.
By Mary K. from Kensington, MD
Have you mulched your leaves yet? After spending years raking up those fall leaves, I got pretty tired of having a second set of leaves fall from the Oak trees. I decided to make short work of the job by using my mulch mower and ran the mower over the leaves, which mulched them all and enriched my lawn happily at the same time. The lawn may not be as neat and tidy, but it sure will be happy having all that extra fertilizer on it, and it will be even happier next spring, and so too will you! Go mulch those leaves!
Source: Gardeners around the globe
By Kghornsten from Davis, CA
Everyone complains about catalogs and how they clutter up their mail boxes. I say bring them on! First, I check out specials and compare prices for something I would like to eventually purchase. I love to window shop in the "wish books". Then I go through them for any picture I can use with my card making and finally I use them as mulch under my trees and bushes.
In a dry country such as Australia, water conservation is priority. Free mulch arrives in my mail box and I say "thank you!" Many would say catalogs destroy forests, and I agree, but until they stop doing this I will use this product to create and maintain my own forest.
By Linda from Australia
If you garden, buy mulch now! All the garden centers and other stores that sell mulch in bulk bags, have them on super sale right now. I just bought 5 bags (1.5 cubic feet each) of mulch for only $5! It's usually $2.79 a bag, so this is close to be only a third of retail. Yay, me!
By Polly from Cedar Springs, MI
Save your back, save time, and make leaf and debris cleanup much easier! Simply sharpen your lawnmower blades and then start mowing over the leaves. Don't use the bagger. You won't need it. Mulching mower or not, your mower will chop up the leaves with just a few passes and there will be virtually nothing large enough to clean up.
The result is leaf mulch on your lawn which will disappear over the winter, is good for the soil and you don't have to clean up any leaves. This won't hurt your mower at all. Use a blower to clear your patio, driveway, and sidewalks before you start. Blow everything onto your lawn and then make it disappear.
Source: my landscaping experience
By jim from Chagrin Falls, OH
When you mow your lawn, take the grass clippings and use as mulch on your flower and vegetable beds.
I ask my neighbors to give me their grass clippings after they have mowed their lawn. They leave me bags of clippings that I use as mulch around my flowers and vegetable plants. As the grass decomposes it fertilizes the plants and it keeps weeds from growing.
Mulch can do so much to make a garden look fine, but it's so expensive! I've found that a request on your local FreeCycle group (www.freecycle.org), will work wonders. There is almost always someone in your area who has had a tree cut down and chipped and wants to get rid of the chippings.
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Can I get a load of mulch delivered for free?
Hardiness Zone: 9a
By anntt from Kissimmee, FL
I got a whole truckload delivered to my yard. The power company was 'servicing' the power poles, trimming all the tree's away from wires etc. I pulled over and asked them what they did with the shredded branches and leaves etc and they had to take it to the land fill, my house was closer. I filled my drive way with it and when it rains it washes 'compost' close to my house. Call your local power company. It can't hurt.
Try contacting a tree service for free mulch. Here in the D/FW area of Texas, it costs $500 to haul the chippings from an average size tree to the landfill (according to our tree service guy). They are thrilled to have a place to dump usable mulch and it saves our landfills, too. It's truly a win/win for everyone. (We can even specify how finely we want it ground!)
The same goes for dirt/landfill. Here in Florida they dig holes for pools a lot. You can ask for the truck load of dirt and if you're closer than the landfill, it's yours. Call a pool company if you don't see a truck.
Can I use grass clippings for mulch in my flower beds?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Chris from IN
Yes as long as the grass clippings do not contain grass that has gone to seed. If it does, well you'll have a lot more grass.
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With winter fast approaching, we need to concentrate on protecting our treasured flower gardens. In a pinch, if I don't have adequate mulch to use on every flower bed,