As I've already mentioned, I've been doing some mulching lately. One thing I've learned this year is that when you get a load of good mulch dumped into your truck on a snowy day, you get dirty. Or as two of my neighbors remarked, "filthy" (as in the phrase "why is your truck so filthy?")
The mulch dust stuck to pretty much every surface of the wet vehicle. I've been waiting for more precipitation to take care of this problem for me, but the expected rain last week didn't materialize -- we're still experiencing some level of drought here. I don't think filthiness matters when you're protecting plants and adding a wonderful blanket of organics to your soil, so I've been doing even more mulching.
This time though I went by the park where our town's community mulch pile is found. After the holidays they provide a Christmas tree pickup service, send them all through the chipper, and create mounds of free mulch for residents.
Although they haven't actually done this chipping yet (I saw a few trees at the curb yesterday still), there was mulch available, so I loaded up.
This stuff is not high-quality mulch at all, since it contains a mixture of dozens of different types of woods. It also was very sticky, and I don't mean that it stuck to you when touched -- I mean that there are lots of unchipped sticks in here. It's not pretty stuff.
Here it is compared to the mulch that I purchased recently. I would never put this free stuff into my front yard, or even in most parts of my back yard. What do I do with it then?
I mulch the back edge of my yard! Back behind the pond...
...around the dogwood, blackhaw viburnum, and other shrubs and small trees...
...and to create paths back here (and also between the veggie beds).
I really wouldn't want to pay to mulch these areas, as I probably need about 5 cubic yards of mulch to do a good job back here. Even though bulk mulch is about $20 a yard here, that's $100 (plus delivery charges) that I'd rather spend on plants, or a tree, or pots, or wood for another project...
...or maybe car washes.