Nasty Mulch

raehantJuly 8, 2014

Hi All! Can anyone tell me what is this white stuff all over my mulch? The mulch is Preen brand black mulch and it was purchased about 2 months ago but I just got around to laying it down recently. Is it mold from sitting in the bags for a couple months in the heat and humidity? I am pregnant and wore a mask and gloves while laying it down but I'm nervous that I've exposed myself to something really dangerous. Any advice would be appreciated as to what this is. Thank you!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

fungus is usually what attacks wood ... i would think that.. long before i leaped to mold ...

i think your pic is out of focus ... which doenst help ...

ken

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:53PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Degrading the mulch.
Not a problem for your plants.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:27PM
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raehant

Thank you for the replies. I'm more concerned about the mulch being harmful to me than my plants. Any thoughts on that?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:36PM
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gardengal48

Since it is a mulch that is treated with herbicides, it is possible what you are seeing are traces of these products. However, I would more likely consider Ken's response of evidence of natural decomposition (fungus OR mold), especially if the bags have been sitting around in heat and humidity for any length of time.

My personal opinion is that the completely natural fungus/mold is far preferable and infinitely less harmful to you than the herbicide (not to mention the dye) in the mulch but that's just me :-))

This post was edited by gardengal48 on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 17:45

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:43PM
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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

They're all probably right. Without a good pic the guess is it's a fungus growing fruiting spore bodies on wood in humidity and it will run it's course and go back to being out of sight but (still) everywhere.

But just to echo one sentiment above that wasn't elaborated on, when you feel you have to protect yourself from your gardening materials, that's a warning sign that something is not right with the world.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The thought that you are using a preemergent herbicide, actually working with it yourself while pregnant gives me the chills. Please don't get anywhere near the stuff again for the duration of your pregnancy and after.

The same goes for insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and many household cleaning products.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:32PM
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spaceman13(6b)

I would assume that it is probably, as it is Preen brand mulch, Preen weed inhibitor. Otherwise it is probably Actinomycetes, yeast, mold, or fungi that break down cellulose and lignin in wood. Nothing to worry about, but as you are pregnant, definately wear gloves and mask when working with it.

It should disappear next time it rains, or if it freaks you out, drag out the hose and water it in.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 2:15PM
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raehant

Thank you for all the replies. I should not have worked with this mulch...period! I honestly didn't know that it had herbicides in it. I thought it was just plain wood mulch. I am panicked about it but there is nothing I can do now. I am in my second trimester when most major organs are formed and I am praying that with the mask and gloves my risk factor is very low. As for the mold/fungus I am not as concerned about that as the herbicides at this point. I have placed a call to my doctor and I am praying he tells me everything is ok. I can't be the first pregnant woman to lay mulch down, right? Who knew mulch could be so dangerous? They really should have warning labels on the bag warning pregnant women not to use it. Not everyone knows about these chemicals. Anyway, thank you again for the replies. I will be staying far away from any type of yard work for a very very long time!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 2:48PM
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JoppaRich(7b)

"But just to echo one sentiment above that wasn't elaborated on, when you feel you have to protect yourself from your gardening materials, that's a warning sign that something is not right with the world."

This is just sillyness. Most of the flowers people keep are more poisonous than the herbicides/pesticides they're so worried about.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 3:11PM
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JoppaRich(7b)

"The thought that you are using a preemergent herbicide, actually working with it yourself while pregnant gives me the chills. Please don't get anywhere near the stuff again for the duration of your pregnancy and after."

Why? Because of your ignorance? Scaring people for no good reason is not a positive behavior. The pregnant lady has enough to worry about.

Preen mulch contains:
0.0032% Trifluralin (Treflan) and 0.0008% Isoxaben

for Trifluralin, the NOAEL (No-Observed Adverse Affect Level) established by the EPA is .75 mg/kg/day, and that's for injection level. You'd need to eat about a tenth of a bag of mulch a day to see adverse affects from the Trifluralin.

The NOAEL for Isoxaben is 110mg/kg/day, which comes to 10g or so for a typical adult.. You'd need to eat a whole bag for that.

And that's toxicity levels for consumption. We're talking exposure here, which is much lower.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 3:29PM
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raehant

Bless you JoppaRich!!! You made me feel so much better by your post. I was almost on the verge of a meltdown over this mulch! Thank you so much for easing my mind :)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 4:22PM
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toxcrusadr

Well done Joppa.

And that is almost certainly 'white rot fungus' which is an extremely important and beneficial part of the ecosystem. Without it, we'd be miles deep in wood debris because it would never decompose. Not particularly harmful to humans. If you haven't gotten a sinus headache or sneezing and watery eyes, don't worry about it. In rare cases people have gotten respiratory infections from fungi, but usually becuase they were immunocompromised and/or it was a particular type of fungus. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:40AM
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