What do you use or mulch?

(Zone 7a)
There are a total of 108 votes:

Shredded leaves.
(13 votes, 12%)
Red dot

Bark or wood chips.
(21 votes, 19%)
Red dot

Landscape plastic or fabric. (do you put anything over it?)
(1 votes, 0%)
Red dot

Gravel or volcanic rock.
(3 votes, 2%)
Red dot

Pine straw.
(8 votes, 7%)
Red dot

(9 votes, 8%)
Red dot

I don't mulch my beds.
(4 votes, 3%)
Red dot

Other, or several of the above.
(49 votes, 45%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I use all the detritus from my garden beds in the fall, with as much leaf stuff as I can get. Also run up to the 2" tree trimmings through the grinder. This is our first year doing this and I can't believe the amount of mulch we have produced. Hope it thaws out so I can actually spread it before winter. Topsoil is already freezing.

Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

I use Cypress mulch. It doesn't rob the soil of fertility. Lasts longer because it doesn't break down.
Good job of keeping weeds down.
First picture taken April 13. Same bed September 29.

Thumbnail by CountryGardens Thumbnail by CountryGardens
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I use pine straw mostly. Pine straw is the most common mulch in my area.

I prefer the look of that dark red mulch (shredded wood/bark), but will never try that stuff again. One year I paid $$$ to have a truck load of the dark red mulch delivered and applied to all of my front and side beds. A few weeks later I found those repulsive and odoriferous stink horn mushrooms growing in all of the areas where I had installed the red, wood mulch. Some research later I learned that wood serves as a substrate for stink horn mushrooms which can be nearly impossible to eradicate in my, subtropical area (where we get an avg 52in rain annually and 'enjoy' humidity of 80-100% much of the time). To get rid of the mushrooms, I paid the gardener (again), this time to remove all of the red mulch and replace it with pine straw. That was years ago, and I haven't seen (or smelled, gag) any sign of the stink horns since. So, I guess, I'm sticking with pine straw.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I guess I am thinking in terms of enchancing the soil not just keeping down the weeds. And I don't have access to the type of mulches you all have.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Primarily compost, but also shredded leaves in the fall. I am fortunate to have a good compost facility close by which delivers by the dump truck and always has a spring special of some sort (usually 15% off). That load lasts through the summer, then when I do fall cleanup I cover with leaves.

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Mostly pine straw but I also use compost and for the vegetable garden I use straw and weed block fabric with straw on top of it between the rows after I plant. I hate to weed! But I do pull up the fabric at the end of the summer.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

This is my first year for Raised Beds, and I'm hoping to collect all the leaves from my neighbors to use as mulch.

Never used it before, and still learning why, how and when to use it in my veggie beds. I don't get weeds (so far) in the raised beds. However, if I collect enough of the leaves, I'm going to use some of them on the pathways between the raised beds. Still trying to decide on pathway material, and I'm not quite there yet, and leaves are free (except for the energy expenditure!!).

Besides, as an added bonus, once they break down and the worms come, I can just scoop them and the leave detritus up and over into the raised beds in the springtime. Instant organic amendment!


Union City, CA(Zone 9b)

mostly redwood compost sold in bags / bales . I save the leaves from the fig and peach tree , at least the ones I can save before it rains - snails hate all

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

I usually leave my leaves where they fall in my garden beds in the fall and the rest of the year I usually use hardwood or cedar mulch. Lasts longer and has no dyes.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Voted pine straw for mulch because I have access to a good (free) supply.

I also rake the leaves in the fall and let them sit for a season before I add them.
But I don't add the leaves as mulch, rather to enhance the soil.

I do have one succulent bed that I've used gravel as a mulch but it was more to serve to keep the bed cooler but didn't consider that as a serious mulch when I voted. Kristi

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I live in the woods. Need I say more.

Jasper Co., MO(Zone 6b)

I vote for Other... use shredded leaves for compost and beds.

This message was edited Oct 4, 2012 6:48 AM

Somerset, KY(Zone 6b)

I voted for other, because I use leaves, cardboard, veggie scraps and anything else that I can find, or afford to add to my beds. The neighbors think I'm crazy because I collect their bags of leaves before the trash truck gets here.

Kure Beach, NC(Zone 9a)

Hardwood mulch. I do like the neat and tidy look it gives my beds and when it decomposes, it helps improve the soil. The unaltered soil is basically sand since I live 2 blocks from the beach.Over the years, between the mulch and my compost, I have really improved the soil.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Shredded leaves, pine needles and bark or wood chips

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Mostly all or any,depend on the plant setting most of the time. Rock type mulches around the dry warm temperature sun lovers ,wood around the deep moisture overs.It's all good!lol

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Here we use pine bark, pine straw and leaves. Under no circumstances do we use cypress mulch. In earlier times, cypress mulch was a by product of the lumber industry. Now, all cypress mulch comes from clear cutting. Some of the trees harvested for mulch are 1000 years old and once our beloved cypress groves are gone, we all lose as many will not regenerate growth.


Somerset, KY(Zone 6b)

I had gotten 4 loads of wood chips from a tree trimmer in 2010. They are nice and broken down now and I'm adding them to the garden.

Need to find me some more.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

themoonhowl; I don't live there so all I can say ,petition, petition , petition, .Maybe to begin with a web ,organization. State ownership of state land where federal laws do not apply,and as we all know, fed money goes to disaster relief , It does not care about a bunch of old trees that nobody thinks about of tomorrow!!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Thanks Juhur, it is an ongoing battle with an already embattled legislature and a dictatorial governor. But we aren't giving up. One of the most useful tools is a boycott of the product. If there is no money in it, they will stop selling it....in theory at least. As for web sites, that is what Riverkeeper is, and there are a number of other organizations here dealing with environmental issues such as LEAN, LA Nature Conservation, Mississippi River Delta restoration....among others.

This message was edited Oct 2, 2012 2:33 PM

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

I voted "Other" because, living in an area where cocos are common as ants, i use coconut by-products for mulch, a combination of the fibers and peat portion of a coco. It is so inexpensive here, i hesitate to say just how inexpensive it is. These are products formerly considered "waste", so the selling of them helps the local economy, the environment, and me and my garden. It protects seedling roots from the heat of the sun, it is attractive without use of dyes or paints, it retains an incredible amount of water...i guess i use half the water i used to use on the garden. No more drooping sad plants. At present, i am trying it out as a seed germination medium also. I have built up the soil with a good amount of nutrients including nitrogen, so i am not worried about nitrogen depletion. I do keep an eye on the plants...they will let me know if they need more nitrogen.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Our own garden waste, lawn clippings, tree trimmings, leaves all go in mulch bins, for ;ater use in the raised vegetable beds. Flower beds are mulched in wood chips, natural, picked up from our recycling center. We don't take their compost because it is often saturated with weed killers, fertilizers, and othr unknowns, and takes a long time to break down and become usable.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

We use mostly shredded cedar mulch on the flower beds, but I have one bed where I use the leaves from the oak tree that fall. Tried "official" mulch there once and it floated away in the first good rain we had. Went back to the leaves that were there for years! In our veggie garden we use shredded leaves or straw.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Not much winter here- other - because I also use living composts - when we use anything at all, if you lay stuff on the ground, the fire ants boil up and take over,

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Though I voted for Pine Straw it's actually crushed pine needle mulch. I use it in all the gardens except for the most recent (new) garden where I used pine mulch as a test. It's easy on the feet in paths and it stays put and won't blow around even in the worst of winds.

Thumbnail by pirl
Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Marti in KY reminded me of cardboard! How could I forget to list that! I use cardboard and newspaper all the time under straw of any kind and a lot of other mulches.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Just be careful using paper and cardboard near the house. Termites love paper products and can build quite a large nest before they are noticed.

Mount Vernon, KY

Large flat rocks with phlox or tyhme in between them is nice.

If it is low growring juniper rugs -- black plastic and gravel.

Wheat straw for almost everything else????
Seems to be working except for occassional contaminants of my most hated enemy the poison hemlock.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

I use unshredded leaves because that is what I have.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Pirl ~ very pretty! Not only is it attractive and stays in place, rainwater filters through it with no trouble. I don't use the 'crushed' but notice it will become crushed when laid in the walkways. I later add that to the beds too.l

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Kristi. Each year I add more to the paths since walking on them does pack them down.

Mount Vernon, KY

I tried not to look dumb and googled it -- I still could not find out what pirl is,
What it is like, where do you buy it, how much is it?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's about $8.00 a bag, plus tax, at our local Agway up here in NY but it's native to Georgia so it has to be available elsewhere. We buy a lot of it. They are long pine needles, soft and easy on the hands when putting it down. This can't be the only supplier so it's worth asking about at a few major nurseries.

In the second photo it's covering caladiums, just planted. They grow up right through it - no problem.

Photo #3 shows it when we had just put down the weed barrier cloth and stapled it in place, then put down the pine needles and spread them out.

The fourth photo shows it in a garden setting.

If I can be of further help please let me know.

Thumbnail by pirl Thumbnail by pirl Thumbnail by pirl Thumbnail by pirl
Mount Vernon, KY

Thank you for going to all the trouble to even send us pictures. It is pretty.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

That's sweet of you to post! My pleasure.

Sharon Whitney, hybridizer and grower of many Japanese irises, uses something very similar at her Eartheart Gardens in Maine. I've been there a few times and she doesn't grow as many hybridizers do, in soldier straight lines. All of her JI's and all of her paths are the long pine needles and it's a very unifying look for the garden and so pleasant for walking around her beautiful plants. I suspect her pine needles come from her own pines that line the rear of the property thereby saving her a lot of money. Wise woman!

Thumbnail by pirl Thumbnail by pirl
Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

I use pine straw because it's plentiful thanks to my huge white pine, doesn't look too bad, & it works. I'll actually use whatever I can get for free.

Mount Vernon, KY

Free for me is the hay that my hubby and son bales.
and big rocks -- I live in a county called Rockcastle so as the name implies there are big rocks about.

But hay has so many seeds -- you have to really put it on heavy and keep doing it. It does make rich soil though.
Straw is easier and less expensive.
But I am not putting it around such beautiful flowers like those iries in the those beautiful pictures. I am putting mine around berries and hazel nut trees.

I did put down cypress mulch around the house when I first planted all my little shrubs..
It does not wash away, it last for a long time, and I think it is resistant to bugs and insects as in termites.
Sorry The Moon How -- but it is great stuff.

I would like to put in some pretty blooming stuff beside just mums in the fall. I will have to see if pirl is in my neck of the woods.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Liquidambar2, the bagged crushed pine straw is just pine needles run through a shredder. It is a "Southern thing"....grin You can achieve the same look if you have a mower that catches the grass in a bag...just run the mower over the whole needles. I have never understood why chopping the needles up made them so much more expensive, other than it takes a little more crushed straw to cover the same area as baled pine straw. It does have a softer look in the garden beds. We have 3 huge pines here and my DH runs the mower around and under them and viola! I have shredded pine straw mulch. Here is a link with some info for you.


Lewisville, MN(Zone 4a)

Yes, they cut down Popular & Pine trees here in Minnesota to make paper products. Nobody whines here. They do have a program though.

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