Stop the Mulch Madness!


This just arrived in my Inbox from Mother Earth News and I’m happy to pass it along:

"This week Mother Jones magazine
released the article Mulch
about Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Dean Wilson’s efforts to stop
the illegal and unsustainable cutting of cypress for cheap mulch. Right now the
cypress mulch industry is destroying wetlands that protect coastal LouIsiana from
hurricanes. The article is online at:

has been working with Dean and organizations across the Gulf Coast to save our cypress forests. We’ve
made great progress. In June 2007, more than 200 Louisiana sities, universities, churches and other organizations have pledged
to stop using cypress mulch.  Month later, Wal-Mart and Lowes announced they would stop or limit buying and selling cypress mulch from Louisiana.

"This is a great start but the threat remains. We have a long way to go to stop the mulching of the nation’s
coastal wetland forests.  Our gardeners hold the key. We believe that gardeners must know the truth about
cypress mulch, and will stop using cypress mulch when presented with the

"Again, thank you for your help spreading the word."


  1. Huh. I can’t get the MJ homepage, either. I keep getting a Network Solutions page that is under construction.

  2. When I hover my mouse over the link, the word blocked:: is in front of the url. Don’t know who is blocking it or why, but that could be the cause of the problem.

  3. Okay, that’s just crazy. There are an infinite number of things that can be used for mulch that don’t involve cutting down rare trees.

  4. I guess the cypress mulch will be sold and bought as long as people are unaware of the implications of that bag of mulch. I don’t buy mulch myself – I’ve got plenty available locally – but I thank you for passing on this information. It is also a reminder that we can all look around our local areas for ways we can recylce our local resources. Leaves, chippings from road crews, etc.

  5. It isn’t that cypress trees are rare. It is more the case that they serve a function within the ecosystem that is blatantly ignored. Here in FL we see truckloads of trees not bigger than saplings on their way to the mill to be ground. Used to be, cypress mulch was made from the scraps of large trees being milled for lumber. These big, old cypress trees had insecticidal properties that kept termites from eating them, so the mulch became popular for use around houses. Too popular. Now they cut the cypress just for the mulch industry, and these little trees no longer have the age and girth that allow them to develop the insecticidal properties. Oh, and the timber companies don’t replant the cypress trees, either, so what is gone is gone. There is nothing left to clean and filter the water in so many isolated wetlands, and in many cases the wetlands where these trees grew are filled, leveled, and built on. Some forward-thinking counties in FL have banned using cypress mulch in public areas, and I’m seeing less of it in the big-box stores thanks (or no thanks) to the advent of ‘red mulch’, which is a conglomeration of waste wood scraps ground and dyed for a consistent appearance.
    So, I still have no idea what the Mother Jones article has to say. This is just some of what I know personally about the industry. I didn’t realize cypress mulch was a ‘thing’ outside the southeast.
    Who out there uses cypress mulch, and why?

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