The Greenery recommends natural pine wood mulch*
Why We Don’t Sell Dyed Mulch
Origin of Dyed Mulch
Dyed mulches (black, red, green and other colors) are usually (with few exceptions) made up of recycled wood waste. This trash wood can come from old hardwood pallets, old decking, demolished buildings, or worse yet, pressure treated CCA lumber. CCA stands for Chromium, Copper and Arsenic; chemicals used until recently to preserve wood. This ground up trash wood is then sprayed with a tint to cover up inconsistencies in the wood and give it a uniform color. These dyes are said to be harmless, but can stain sidewalks and driveways. Some colorants may not be so harmless. For example, black mulch may contain “carbon black”, which is often made by burning coal tar or various oils.
Effect of Dyed Mulch
This dyed wood mulch does not break down to enrich the soil as good mulch should. Instead it leaches the dye along with the possible contaminants (chromium, copper, arsenic and others) into the soil, harming or even killing beneficial soil bacteria, insects, earthworms and sometimes the plants themselves. These wood mulches may actually rob the soil of nitrogen by out-competing the plants for the nitrogen they need for their own growth. Dr. Harry Hoitink, Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University, warns that dyed mulches are especially deadly when used around young plants and in newer landscapes.
Why We Don’t Sell Cypress Mulch
Cypress Mulch Myths
Cypress mulch isn’t what it’s made out to be. Its popularity is based on the idea that cypress mulch contains chemicals that fend off insects and resist rot. This was the case back in the days when the mulch was made from mature, century old trees. The demand for cypress timber and mulch has led to overharvesting, so much so that most cypress mulch now comes from immature trees that have not yet developed the properties that made the mulch desirable in the first place.
The Cypress Crisis
Cypress groves thrive where lowlands meet the ocean, and they protect inland areas from storm surges and protect the local flora from invasive species. Few groves will ever grow back once harvested. Mature cypress trees can live to be more than 1000 years old, but their seedlings need the silt from freshwater floods to survive. After more than a century of dam building and flood control, very little new silt makes it into the cypress groves anymore. According to the Louisiana Forestry Association, loggers are erasing up to 20,000 acres of cypress every year. At that pace Louisiana’s best defense against hurricanes will be gone in less than two decades.
*Natural pine bark mulch does not contain colorants, dyes or wood from pallets, crates or waste wood from demolished buildings. It is a sustainable product that is a byproduct of the lumber industry. In addition, it does rot over time, which is beneficial to the plants it protects.