Using Mulch from a Tree Service

I recently obtained a free load of mulch (chips) from a tree service. It is green and brown mulch trimmed from the trees along the roadside. Is this mulch safe to place around shrubs and in areas where I plan to plant shrubs, flowers, and vegetables?


Hardiness Zone: 8a

Miss Daisy from Waverly Hall, GA

December 4, 20080 found this helpful

Do not use this mulch until it ages about four months. The fresh mulch will sometimes contain insects such as ants or tick eggs. At a later time the eggs will hatch and be a nuisance.

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Anonymous Flag
December 4, 20080 found this helpful

Uncomposted woody organic mulches, including wood shavings, sawdust, and straw, may deplete soil nitrogen for a short time after spreading. To insure plants aren't short-changed, apply high-nitrogen fertilizer before applying wood mulches. Signs of nitrogen depletion include pale green or yellowing leaves and stunted plant growth. Source of info: Better Homes And Gardens Yard And Garden Owner's Manual. Happy Gardening!

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December 5, 20080 found this helpful

I am on my 28th load of chips from my tree service in 5 years... They are great for mulch, but letting them weather for 3 - 4 months is a good idea if you are going to use them around plants and shrubs...

Jim in Jax

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December 9, 20080 found this helpful

I'd avoid using it on vegetables since there may be pesticide residues you aren't aware of. Oh, and just a note: a friend of mine got some "Christmas Tree" mulch once and it had refuse in it like used condoms and needles. Be careful.

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December 15, 20080 found this helpful

One of the hazards and risks of doing this is from Carpenter Ants/ Termites, especially if the mulch is going to be used around your home or a patio attached to your home. You see, even if not IN the fresh wood, not knowing the condition or from what kind of tree it was cut, nor the location of the area, the pests are then ATTRACTED to the fresh mulch, and may even contain FLEAS, which can bring tapeworm eggs with them. ALL wood mulch is questionable, with risks attached. Mine came complete with Palm seeds, now sprouting continually around my home producing thousands of seeds each, should I miss pulling them all out! Think twice and I'd suggest, IF you can afford it, to go with whatever says it's been heat treated FIRST!

God bless and give you wisdom. : )

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