Is the Mulch Your Using Safe?

Mulch has many benefits including retaining moisture, helping with weed control, preventing soil erosion, maintaining soil nutrients, controlling pests, and enhancing the look of your landscape. However, when it comes to quality, not all mulches are the same.

Common Mulch Issues

Some mulch contains hazardous materials that could ruin your garden and pose potential health risks. When you purchase poor quality mulch, you are susceptible to the following problems:

Artillery Fungus – (Sphaerobolus), a fungus that resembles tar, commonly found in bark and hardwood mulch. The fungus produces tiny fruiting structures that are cupped shaped and contain a small black spore mass. It’s called artillery fungus because of its ability to “shoot” the spore mass into the air where it sticks to any surface it hits, leaving small black spots on plant leaves or home siding, which are extremely difficult to remove.

Slime Mold – Reaching a foot or more in diameter, these bright yellow or orange slimy masses generate tiny spores that eventually dry and blow away. Although slime mold resembles a fungus, it’s actually a soil-dwelling amoeba. They form strange shapes ranging from honeycomb lattices and blackberries to dog vomit. Slime mold, while unattractive to most people is not harmful and doesn’t need to be removed unless it bothers you to have it in your yard.

Sour Mulch – When wood-derived mulch is piled high, the inside becomes deprived of oxygen. This causes the mulch to emit a sour smell resembling alcohol, vinegar, ammonia, or sulfur, creating acetic acid. The accumulation of acid is toxic to plants, and if left untreated, can spread throughout your landscape causing other plants to die. You can treat sour mulch by spreading it out and soaking it with water. Once the mulch dries, the smell should be gone, and you can return it to your garden.

K&B Mulch only produces top quality certified mulch utilizing virgin timber derived from managed timberland sites and certified by the Mulch & Soil Council. That means with K&B products, you know exactly what’s in your mulch and can rest assured there are no chemicals, nails, debris, or weed seedlings. If you have questions, or would like to place an order, please call us at 1-800-330-8816.