Just Say No to Dyed Mulch
A Horticulturist’s Rant about Dyed Mulches in Landscaping
- 🔑 Key Takeaways with Garden Guy
- Dyed Mulches don’t break down easily or naturally
- Poor wood product from dyed mulches robs nitrogen from soils and plants
- Plants struggle for nitrogen in a dyed-mulch environment
- Mulch dyes kill earthworms, beneficial soil organisms, and beneficial soil bacteria
- Dye in mulch runs off into watersheds and into our environment
- It is awful. Stop it.
➡ To our dyed mulch discussion…
“When our clients insist on black or red mulches, I strongly advise against it. If the client insists, I respect their wishes and use what they request. Dyed mulch comes in many colors but the ones we are asked most about are black and red mulches,” says Todd.
🫂 For the record, many of our clients follow Todd’s advice and move away from dyed mulches once he explains to them why they are so bad 👍 Our clients are amazing! 🥳
➡ “Many people just do not know the truth about the chemicals in these dyed mulches, the poor wood product it is made from, and how it does not break down like a natural mulch. Once I tell our clients, they almost always are shocked and want nothing to do with it any longer,” explains Todd.
🍋 The Garden Guru of the Gulf Coast, Randy Lemmon agrees with Garden Guy as well, “There’s a negative effect on the soil: Dyed mulch doesn’t break down into the soil the way native mulches and shredded mulches do. Instead, dyed mulches, especially those midnight-black styles, leach dye, and possible CCA contaminants into the soil, killing beneficial bacteria. It kills off beneficial insects and earthworms, too. The dye runs off the piles after a simple rain. It’s doing that in landscape beds, too!
Nitrogen starvation almost always happens: When you see yellowing leaves on annuals and perennials, nitrogen present in the soil is working so hard to break down the wood that roots aren’t getting anything to help the plants green up,” explains Randy.
Thanks, Randy 🍋 👍
💭 We believe as Randy Lemmon did, that because the dyed mulches do not break down like a shredded hardwood mulch, they leach chemicals and contaminants into the landscaping beds. As this is occurring, all the nitrogen your plants so much need is being gobbled up by the black or red mulch to break it down. Garden Guy feels this sets up a competition wherein the plants always lose 😔
🔥 HOT TIP 🔥 “A natural mulch will add to the life of the landscaping bed, the plants, and the soil. It will not compete,” advises Garden Guy. 🥳
So now you understand why dyed mulch is a poor choice for your plants, landscaping, and for our environment. 🙌
In our next post, we will show you the mulch that Garden Guy uses and why it is the best choice for your home landscaping and for our world.
Todd is Sugar Land’s Aggie Horticulturist with more than 33 years of experience, designing and installing creative landscapes with plants that thrive in Texas. He always listens to clients’ needs and utilizes plants that withstand the heat and become more beautiful with time. Folks love him! Don’t take my word for it, check out more than 200 Nextdoor Recommendations here.
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Thanks for reading!