In my back yard, away from my pool area, I use grass clippings. I have tried different kinds of underlayment under mulch and small decorative rocks and all of them seem to me "ant shangri-la". I have no idea why ants like the underlayment (plastic sheeting and cloth and aerated plasticky stuff) so much, but they do. Even mr. termite likes it. I know ants are beneficial to the soil, but enough already. Ants don’t seem so hot for the grass mulch. It is free and available at the source. I don’t use it near the pool (pool toys plus grass mulch equals yuck) and not in my front yard (don’t want the neighborhood watch to be offended). I would love to use cocoa if it was a locally available product. And when I do buy mulch, I buy local bulk mulch. Cheaper.
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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.