Well, Leigh Anne, then I guess cocoa hulls ARE local for you! Who knew? So check that objection off my list in your case. As for the recycled tires that Kenn talk about, it’s a real environmental no-no–yet another wacky thing that is being tried out on us unsuspecting consumers. Yes, it’s re-using tires…but putting them into nature in shreds is as bad or worse as putting them into nature whole, I think. They don’t break down and become incorporated into the soil, so they’re no good. And remember animals and even smaller living organisms inhabit the soil–I don’t think a worm wants to process tire shreds while making worm castings, or a robin wants to rustle around in the tire litter (though they love the leaf litter!). My rule: To be a mulch, it must be organic…that is living/formerly living material that can decompose over time and therefore when it breaks down into the soil it’s a good thing, not a problem. A really good mulch thwarts weeds, helps retain moisture, and eventually feeds the underlying soil and improves its texture as it degrades. M.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.