Anyone use colored mulch?

gbig2(6)June 13, 2007

My neighbors must have a dyed black mulch because it's really dark, much darker than mine. It looks really good. The contrast between the dark mulch and the grass. Has anyone heard of any reasons you should stay away from the colored mulches? Any toxics dyes, etc.? Do the colored mulches hold their color a long time?

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I don't have the answers to your questions, but in the past few weeks, two of my neighbors have also put in the black mulch (I've also thought it is probably dyed). Since here in California, redwood chips/bark is the usual mulch, the black does stand out as different.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 5:56PM
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val_s(z5 central IL)

I don't know if they hold their color long or not. We bought some last year because it was end of year clearence. Got it for 75 cents a bag. We didn't use it until this spring and it looked fine. I'm sure it's going to fade but I really like the way it looks and so far it still looks really dark.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 10:32PM
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Mulches should recede into the background and should not be a prominent part of the landscape because then they detract from the display. Natural colored mulches should be the ones used because they do not detract.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 7:37AM
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kimpa(z6b PA)

Look in most garden magazines and you hardly see any mulch. Designers use the plants as a focal point and strive to cover the soil with them in wonderful flows and patterns.

I use shredded leaves as mulch because fallen leaves and debris blend in and because it is free!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 8:10AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Cocoa mulch and some pine mulches (I got some that they called aged pine mulch before) are dark- nearly black- without dyes. The pine mulch is cheaper here than the richer colored hemlock, or other mulches.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 8:41AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

To answer your question, there was (at one time) a controversy about the dyed mulches being manufactured from discarded pallets and other lumber made from treated wood. The arsenates can be dangerous to handle and they can leach into the soil. I do not know whether or not that problem has been solved.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 9:52AM
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It is against the law to shred toxic wood to make mulches, the people who do colorized (industry term) are inspected in most states.

The black is carbon black mixed with scrap latex paint and isn't really a problem.

Like Kimmsr, my taste says that mulch should not be the focal point but if it suits you then there is no reason you shouldn't use it. The red for example looks like an old woman with lipstick that is to bright for me.

Remember you can't teach taste.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 1:42PM
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jannoel_gw(z5b IL)

I bought 4 bags of the black hardwood mulch this spring by mistake. I used 1/2 bag around a shrub and decided it looked kind of fake so I returned the other 3 bags and got regular hardwood mulch. I hid the mulch from the remaining 1/2 under some of the regular stuff. A month later I'm getting kind of used to the black stuff and it doesn't bother me anymore, but I think I'll stick to the stuff I've been using for years.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 4:04PM
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val_s(z5 central IL)

There are several reasons to use mulch and in my opinion the black mulch makes the plants stand out even more. In my beds it looks like really good black dirt (until you're close of course). The leaves of the plants stand out a lot more against the black mulch in my beds where I used it as opposed to the beds that still have the natural colored mulch.

My leaves are all gone - into the compost. Must get more this fall. It has been very hot, dry and windy here so I'm glad to have the mulch on my beds - it does help.

The photos you see in magazines are staged to look their best but I'm betting when the weather is in the 90's and everything is drying out they do something for those beds. Unless of course they can afford to water everyday, which I can't.

As far as taste goes, it's all subjective - don't ya think?


    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 6:46PM
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Black mulch has been put down near me. I don't know what it is, but it smells awful...very farmish!! I can even smell it in the house. Is this normal for mulch, will it go away soon? It looks nice, like rich black soil where I grew up, so I think it looks normal and nice.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:28PM
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val_s(z5 central IL)

I'm not sure what would cause the smell. What we got was just black colored mulch on sale last fall. It sat outside all winter (mostly under snow) until this spring. It didn't have an odor when we opened them. It smelled like an other natural colored mulch. Hopefully the smell will dissipate soon.

Now that I think of it, I've never had any mulch that's had an odor. I wonder if they didn't put something down with/under the maybe manure or something.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:58PM
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kimpa(z6b PA)

My friend lives across the street from a mulch company and boy does it stink at times. I also have smelled it when the neighbors lay it down. It is hot and decomposing. The smell goes away quickly as it is exposed to air.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 8:19AM
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