Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Compost and Mulch At A Big Discount

My wife found a great deal on bulk compost and mulch from our local waste management company, which recycles yard waste for our county. They charge $10 per cubic yard, with a minimum charge of $25. This is the cost for pick up at their location, and which includes loading. My pickup truck holds about 2 cubic yards and two truckload just about cover all the tree and flower beds in our yard. This compares to the 75 to 100 bags of mulch that I buy for about $4 each.

We decided to use to compost this year to mulch our planter beds and trees. We were very satisfied with the quality of the compost, and will likely make the trip again in the fall. The only downside is the facility location is 10 miles farther than our local garden store. However, based on the savings and the quality, I think it's worth the trip.

Finally, to note, the compost and mulch sales was not advertised. Also, relevant websites did not provide enough details and it took several phone calls to the county municipal waste office, a civic garden club, and the local waste management company to get the information. However, once I did find the right contact, the service has been excellent.

For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.

Photo Credit: morgueFile.com, Mary K. Baird

This is not financial or gardening advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Anonymous said...

One thing you need to watch for is that some of the trees they mulch are diseased and may be termite infested.

The bargain you got on mulch may not be much of a bargain if you get termites.

I would love to know how to minimize the risk for this.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we've gotten a few truckloads of mulch from the local recycling/transfer station. You have to spend time taking out pieces of plastic or larger sticks, but you're right that it's MUCH cheaper than the $4 per bag at Home Depot or Lowes.

However, since it's not controlled like the bagged mulch, you might was to make sure it doesn't have termites. I just make sure not to let any of it touch the house.

S. B. said...

A number of years back, we were living in an apartment complex that saved money one year by getting their mulch from the county recycling place. This was a good idea in spirit. Unfortunately, the mulch was infested with an unbelievable amount of centipedes (probably eggs at the time). A few days after the mulch was down, I never saw so many centipedes in all my life! At night, the sidewalks would have dozens of them for every square foot! Of course, with that many bugs, eventually a lot of them ended up in all the apartments. I'm sure they spent a lot more on pest control (and renter unhappiness) than they saved on mulch.

But I admit it probably would have seemed like a good idea to me if I had been in charge...

Super Saver said...

Anonymous, Clever Dude, and S.B.,

Thanks for your comments on possible infestations in mulch and compost from recycling centers. I had not heard about the issue before. Searching the web, I found most sources believed the risk was relatively low (but not zero) for termites. It seems the higher risk was putting any mulch near the house since it helped keep the soil moist for termites. Also, using compost, instead of mulch, reduces the risk of being infested, since compost temperatures of up to 150 degrees will destroy many insects.

However, your cautions are excellent ones. I will check the compost throughout the summer for any infestation issues. Also, for the one planter by the house, I will move the compost about a foot away from the foundation.

@ Clever Dude,
Good point on the presence of foreign materials. We also had some wire and small plastic pieces. Although there were likely more, I noticed less than a dozen pieces, probably because this facility puts the material through a 1/2 inch screen before distribution.

Anonymous said...

We've used county mulch for years and never had any of these issues.