Mulching Meltdown - Knowledgebase Question

Pompton Lakes, Ne
Question by sweetteripie
February 26, 2010
My mother is driving me crazy about which type of mulch to use around shrubs as apposed to flowers and trees. Which is best to use and which are termite repelant? She is terrified of termites. Thanks!


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Answer from NGA
February 26, 2010

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I understand your mother's concern over attracting termites - who wants to invite trouble? But I've read several research papers by 3 different universities and they all came to the same conclusion: termites are only interested in mulch as a cover to get them to the foundation of your home. They do not live and breed in mulch material, they simply use it as a hiding place. If you keep mulch materials 6" away from your home, the termites will not be able to use it as a convenient means of gathering to attack your home. Cypress heartwood mulch is the least attractive to termites; pine is the most attractive. You'll be safe in using cypress or redwood, either shredded or in nuggets. To hedge your bet, simply rake through the mulch every 4-6 weeks. You'll be able to detect any insect activity. Since the mulch will be actively decomposing, if you turn it over with a rake you will incorporate some air which will help heat it up. This will discourage insect activity, as well. Hope this eases your mother's concern.

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