Free Mulch Alternative

3 Materials
12 Hours
Easy

What can you do to reduce waste, save money and potentially even help with reducing the destruction caused by hurricanes? Don’t buy commercial mulch! 70% of mulch sold in the US is made from cypress trees, while naturally organic and well liked for residential and commercial use, we are destroying our cypress groves that are crucial to swamp habitat in the coastal southeast and southcentral US, as well as, protecting our wetlands. Without these groves and wetlands intact, flooding and devastation is much worse during these severe storms (hello hurricane Harvey and Irma!).

What can you do to reduce waste, save money and potentially even help with reducing the destruction caused by hurricanes? Don’t buy commercial mulch! 70% of mulch sold in the US is made from cypress trees, while naturally organic and well liked for residential and commercial use, we are destroying our cypress groves that are crucial to swamp habitat in the coastal southeast and southcentral US, as well as, protecting our wetlands. Without these groves and wetlands intact, flooding and devastation is much worse during these severe storms (hello hurricane Harvey and Irma!).

So what other options do we have?

It had been quite some time since I had mulched my entire yard, so I wanted to do a little research and see what earth friendly options are recommended. I was scrolling through Facebook last week and saw an add for FREE mulch from the service  www.getchipdrop.com. I clicked on the link and filled out the form, even though I was a little leery. I received an automated message back that informed me I was on the list of residents to get a free load of mulch (from local arborists that need to get rid of wood chips) and asked me to reply back with some various acceptance terms. Would I accept any type of wood chips? Did they all need to be very small or could I accept some branches if reasonably small, etc. I agreed to accept a load of any kind of wood chip and with a few small branches. Later that week I got a call that they were delivering my mulch to my driveway and that I should call them back with any specific directions on where to drop it. It was a bit of a shock on how much mulch was actually delivered…the company’s website estimates each drop to be around 15 yards – the size of a mini van. You may want to consider splitting a load with a neighbor if your yard is not big enough...

The delivery did include some small branches that we removed and saved for kindling. There was also some leaves and greenery that we left in the mulch to act as a composting agent. Applying the mulch fairly thick covered any greenery that was left in the mixture. While this was quite bit of work, it was well worth the money we saved ($300-500 avg for delivered mulch not installed). We didn’t use cypress mulch, and we helped out a local tree removal service that may have had to dispose of this in a landfill. 

Besides the yard, don't forget to mulch any raised beds or large pots. I really didn't want to throw mulch on top of my beautifully clean soil/compost but in the end you won't believe how much this helps to keep the soil moist and temps down especially if you live in the south.

Here’s a look at the finished yard. I’ve used the black and brown dyed mulch in the past and while it looks nice, I think I prefer the mixed hardwood look…it’s less manicured and more natural. Not to mention the chemicals and dye's in those products that fade very quickly.

While it was a lot of work and we certainly got our exercise that week, I am very happy with the look and quality of the free mulch.

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Flawless Chaos
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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Lawana Bryan Lawana Bryan on Jul 30, 2018

    I’ve always worried that free mulch might contain diseased tree material. Did this vendor include any info or state that the mulch no known diseased material??? Have you had any problems with it since installation?? Thanks!

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  • Flawless Chaos Flawless Chaos on Jul 30, 2018

    Hi Lawana, I didn't think to ask when my mulch was delivered, but it's been nearly a year since we've had it and we've had no issues with any tree disease. I also read online that this could increase the mosquito population, but we didn't see any increase from the normal bugs.

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