That said, there's red-dyed mulch that's made from waste wood from wooden shipping pallets and from the construction and demolition of buildings.
"Scientists at the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste have found that Chrominated Copper Arsenate treated waste wood mulches leach harmful chemicals, such as arsenic, into soil. Though CCA has been banned from consumer goods since 2004, CCA-treated wood salvaged from industrial, construction and demolition uses may still be illegally integrated into mulches."
To avoid CCA completely, look for red wood mulches made with virgin wood, made with other types of recycled wood (such as lumber scraps or Christmas trees) and/or that have been certified by the MSC.
Then there's the cypress/cedar debate. Cypress mulch is created from the leaves, limbs, bark and sometimes the entirety of cypress trees. A natural wetland tree that provides a habitat for animals in the Southern wetlands, cypress filters pollutants from water. In recent years, cypress mulch has come under scrutiny because of the limited number of these trees available and the destruction of natural habitats as a result of using the trees for mulch, according to eHow.com. Using mulch from cedar trees isn't a threat to the environment.
No matter what the color, the biggest problem with mulch is how it's applied around trees.
The Morton Arboretum cautions property owners about bad practices when applying mulches around trees. The proper method is to lay a three- to four-inch layer of mulch in a wide ring around the trunk, not letting the mulch directly contact the trunk and basal root flare. Avoid creating a conelike mound or "mulch volcano" around the tree's trunk. This excessive pile of mulch prevents air circulation and favors fungal rot. Once a tree is infested with rot, it's difficult to impossible to fully treat or correct. The pile of mulch also is a nook or habitat for insect pests to flourish. If the soil around the tree is always soggy and slow to drain, don't use too much mulch as slow drainage reduces oxygen in the soil.
Rose show canceled
The Charleston Rose Society has canceled its 88th annual rose show, scheduled for June 3 at the University of Charleston.
"Weather conditions last week with temperatures above 90 have caused most of our roses to suffer in size, quality and quantity, as well as being infested with thrips and even spider mites. We see these conditions in late July and August, not in late May," explained Lynda Grass, rose show chairwoman.
"While I think we may have a fair showing of miniature and miniflora blooms, the large roses have taken quite a hit. Since they comprise the bulk of our show, we would be doing ourselves, our judges and the public a disservice by putting on a show with little or no bloom."
For more information, contact Grass at 304-345-3634.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.