Mulches - Knowledgebase Question

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Question by sewarddds
May 8, 2010
I've read the advice given for mulches, but information regarding the pros and cons of licorice root mulch was not included. Can you provide any insight please? Would licorice root mulch be a good choice if you don't want to attract termites, such as can happen with wood mulches? Thanks for your help.


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Answer from NGA
May 8, 2010

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Licorice root mulch, sold by a company called Right Dress, is the steamed and shredded roots of the perennial legume Glycyrrhiza glabra, better known as licorice plant, which is native to central Asia. A staple of industrial food production for many years, the plant is steamed in a large kettle to extract a compound 50 times sweeter than sugar which is then used in various baked goods, candies, and medicines.

The byproduct essentially resembles dirt and twigs, and until the 1940?s was treated as a useless waste product by the MacAndrews & Forbes company in Camden, N.J. A New Jersey electrician named Howard T. Montzer, while employed at the firm?s factory, tried using the waste as gardening mulch and met with astounding success. Mr. Montzer, who passed away in August 2009, did not realize just how wondrous the plant is: it contains 12 out of 13 vital nutrients for plants, and is especially rich in nitrogen-to-carbon ratio?one of the most vital elements in the life of a healthy plant, and vastly superior to ordinary bark mulches which are high in carbon.
Licorice mulch is powerful in other ways as well; it has been lab tested to and proven resistant to a pest known as artillery fungus, which is attracted to mulch beds. When the fungus matures, it fires a black spore at light colored objects, which can badly discolor a car or the side of a house. The only way to remove it is by repainting it, or better yet, not using vulnerable mulch at all and sticking with licorice mulch.

Hope this answers your questions! I think licorice mulch is a great mulch for your garden.

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