Toxic commercial mulch

Asked November 15, 2016, 11:51 AM EST

Can tinted commercial wood like mulch be toxic to trees and plants? We have used the red tinted mulch around some of our plants, shrubs and trees. We have lost established young shrubs and newly planted plants. Could the mulch be the culprit?

Thanks.

Griggs County North Dakota

1 Response

I doubt if that is the main cause. But, I do not know all the dies used to color the mulch.

There could be a more natural cause. All wood mulches have a very high carbon to nitrogen ratio. As they decompose, they will rob the soil of the nitrogen in a shallow layer. Young plants and shrubs have a shallow root system. If the soil is already short of nitrogen and organic matter, those shallow rooted plants may starve of nitrogen. So, I would soil test first.