Mulch 101

What can you do to make sure your mulch is sustainable?


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If you’ve read Michael Behar’s “Mulch Madness,” you already know that the sale of cypress mulch is threatening to destroy Louisiana’s best defense against hurricanes and one of the country’s most diverse ecosystems. And once destroyed, Louisiana’s cypress will never return.

So what can you to help? Wherever you live, making sustainable choices in your own garden is a great first step.

1) The first question to consider when planning to mulch your garden is whether you need to buy mulch at all. One of the biggest myths about cypress mulch is that it is especially rot resistant. In fact, the young trees that are being harvested are just as susceptible to rot as other species. So instead of buying mulch, take a lesson from Mother Nature, and consider using fallen leaves or pine needles in place of commercial mulch.

2) If you must buy bagged mulch, question your supplier closely to make sure you are not buying Louisiana cypress mulch or any other mulch that is not sustainably harvested. A good alternative to cypress is pine, which has many of the same properties but is far more abundant and harvested as a byproduct of the pine lumber industry.

3) Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot are the largest commercial sellers of mulch. Wal-Mart has already agreed not to sell Louisiana cypress mulch, Lowe’s has a moratorium on cypress harvested from certain parts of Louisiana, and Home Depot is still crafting its policy, but all three can take steps to ensure that whatever mulch they do sell is sustainably harvested.

Learn More and Take Action:
To read more about local and national organizations working together to fight cypress mulching and Louisiana restoration projects, please visit:

Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, (225) 659-2499

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, (225) 767-4181

Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), (504) 525-1528

Louisiana Cypress Purchase Legacy, (504) 891-7116

Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, (225) 928-1315

Save Our Cypress

Waterkeeper Alliance, 914.674.0622

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