Myth vs Reality.

Part 1: "Mulch Ain't Just Mulch" Most Garden Centers and Nurseries carry a single line of `Mulch.' It is shredded hardwood material made from felled trees in the area, and composted about 1 year or less (called "Hot Mulch") by local sawmills or secondary vendors. Composting 2 years-plus helps insure that the cellulose (wood fibers) decay moderately-quickly, and do not bring termites and earwigs along to your home and garden. It also helps to prevent your plants from yellowing prematurely or becoming chlorotic, since the bacteria that breakdown the cellulose fibers need massive amounts of nitrogen (N) to live and work on the wood decay. Otherwise, the bacteria would rapidly rob your nice, green plants to get nitrogen, turning them yellow in short order.

Mulch should be composted no less than 2 years, to be safe. This is not true with the many tree companies who do pruning and cleaning work, then grind-up the limbs and branches and offer it back to the homeowner who feels very lucky to get this chipped matter as mulch: DON'T USE IT ON YOUR GARDEN BEDS! It will suck the nitrogen right out of your green plants and turn them yellow, unless you add copious amounts of nitrogen to compensate for the bacterial breakdown action. Use fresh woodchips for pathways through woods only or leave it in a pile to compost for 2-plus years. Then you have a good deal.

`Treated Mulch' means that herbicides, fungicides or pesticides (or all three) have been sprayed onto the wood to reduce weed growth, fungus or termites and earwigs that live in uncomposted (less-than-2-year) mulch. Or maybe these people have used "fillers" such as mushroom compost etc. to bulk up the weight. You're actually not getting what you think or what you're paying for. These added chemicals can kill your plants and grass, plus cause serious reactions to pets and children if no precautions are taken against continued direct skin contact.

We don't carry treated mulch of any kind. Nor should you buy any treated mulch; it contains harmful and perhaps deadly chemicals that no one should have to deal with in any garden. If someone says they treat mulch, it's because it's cheap, substandard garbage in the first place, and you should simply hang up the phone and call us for the best, premium natural mulch available anywhere.

Now into our 5th Gardening Season, we've narrowed our offerings to a single line of Premium Dark Bark Mulch, which has no real chunks of hardwood, just the outer shredded tree bark as its only ingredient. This bark will not float away during a hard rain storm, as is regular hardwood mulch pieces prone to do, nor is it apt to cause plant yellowing and demise, since pure bark contains no more cellulose fiber after 2-plus years of composting. It is the very best choice for use on slopes and banks, where "mulch travel" is a problem. Nor is it treated with chemicals which are potentially-toxic to living things.

In the end, there are no good deals on mulch. Buy only quality, well-composted mulch and avoid the problems first time around. When chemicals get into your ground and garden from cheap mulch, it's almost impossible to get them out. Fresh-chips and hot mulch are no bargains. Remember, if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Yes Virginia, there is again truth in advertising. Always has been in ours. Shop around before buying mulch and ask questions. Mulches are not created quickly. Nor is plain shredded hardwood mulch just mulch.

In addition to the finest Premium Dark Bark Mulch, we feature over 200 varieties of annuals and herbs, over 735 varieties of perennials, ornamental grasses and bamboos, and more than 1250 cultivars of nursery stock, ranging from the common to the very rare, unusual and hard-to-find. Our Collector's Rare Plant Nursery has been supplying gardening enthusiasts for over four years, and is a must for connoisseurs and serious collectors.

Our unconditional guarantee: If for any reason any product or plant you purchase at John Shelley's Garden Center & Nursery doesn't perform to your s atisfaction, simply bring it back with its original receipt and we'll give you another or equal value.

Once again, no other Garden Center, Nursery or Mass Merchandiser even comes close.