Wood mulch provides soils with the fungal dominance in which woody species thrive. Any cultivator of bramble berries, shrubs like blueberries and trees should be doing everything in their power to provide the roots of these plants with the mycorrhizal fungi that is critical for nutrient uptake. Good mulch can be quite expensive but hopefully I can provide some free avenues for you to explore.
…always need to clear brush and tree growth from their right of ways. Some are happy to deliver the mulch to save the disposal fee if you provide an easily accessible place to dump the shredded cuttings. It is usually free but a tip would help secure an almost endless flow of free mulch!
…typically have a tree removal service that generates mulch from land development, road construction and general upkeep. Luckily mine allows citizens to take whatever they can haul themselves. If you aren’t lucky enough to have this, it is still worth contacting the local government so see if they will dump a load on your property.
Arborists, tree services and landscaping companies…
…are all in the business of removing problem trees or pruning existing ones. Tree cuttings are almost always mulched to facilitate efficient removal of the waste from project sites. With some savvy networking, you can work your way into almost unlimited sources of mulch.
generally shred waste wood from the milling process. I’ve never pursued this avenue so I’m not sure what to expect in regards to costs. Just make sure it is hardwood mulch!
Note: Sawdust is actually too much carbon and not a good plant mulch. However it is the best possible bedding for mature animals as it has the highest C:N ratio to bind to nutrients in the waste. Baby chicks will eat it so only use for mature poultry. The same properties makes it a great compost pile addition.
Buy or rent your own chipper/shredder
The best mulch comes from younger branches based on wood composition facts that I have not covered. Large stems should be used as heating fuel anyway so if you harvest your own firewood, buying or renting a shredder for the smaller parts of the tree canopies might make sense.
There are no guarantees that any of these entities will delivery the mulch for free. However the mulch itself is generally not graded and free as a result. If you do need to buy mulch from a commercial source, avoid:
- Dyed, biologically toxic mulches
- Pine based mulches due to chemical components that inhibit broadleaf plant growth