Invasive melaleuca tree makes great, but underused, mulch

Full story: Orlando Sentinel

While the invasive melaleuca tree is a menace to wetlands, it also is an environmentally friendly choice for mulching Florida 's landscapes.
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1 - 20 of 21 Comments Last updated Nov 18, 2013
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gary the tree hugger

Opa Locka, FL

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#1
Feb 8, 2008
 

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They should make it illegal to cut down cypress trees for mulch or devolopment. Cypress tress only live in wet lands that should be protected!
UF FTU Alum

Huntsville, AL

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#2
Feb 8, 2008
 
There shouldn't be any difference in costs associated with shipping 1 pallet of Cypress mulch and 1 pallet of Melaleuca mulch. Oh wait a minute retailers have to get it from county extension units, that explains the difference in prices. The ease of acquisition is being hindered by the meddling of our county governments.
EOLA GARDENER

Fort Myers, FL

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#3
Feb 8, 2008
 
I spoke with the company today. They will sell direct to anyone. They also told me that they are working on much lower freight costs. Anyone want to share a load?
Jeffrey-Save Our Cypress

Baton Rouge, LA

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#4
Feb 8, 2008
 
Thank you for this educational article. It is just what consumers need to make informed choices that will not just benefit their flowerbeds but will also not destroy our wild places at the same time.
Cypress forests are our best natural defense against storm surge and hurricanes.
Cutting these trees down for the sole purpose of making them into garden mulch goes against any form of common sense. Especially where the likelihood of the cut cypress trees regenerating is so low.
Jeffrey
Internet Organizer
Save Our Cypress Coalition
http://SaveOurCypress.org
Donn Barclay

Kissimmee, FL

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#5
Feb 8, 2008
 
EOLA GARDENER wrote:
I spoke with the company today. They will sell direct to anyone. They also told me that they are working on much lower freight costs. Anyone want to share a load?
Of course they will sell to anyone--who will by 18 pallets of 70 bags each. The problem has been that there hasn't been a large enough market for a small retailer to justify that level of financial commitment. The Master Gardeners in Osceola County are simply trying to coordinate these orders so nurseries only need invest in 2, 3, or so pallets at a time. Our job through Extension is to educate people, which is pointless if the product isn't available in the area!

Since: Feb 08

Fort Myers, FL

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#6
Feb 8, 2008
 
Exactly ... I just took exception to the "government meddling" and "middleman" comments ... I think what you are doing is great! thank you
Windermere Gardener

Winter Garden, FL

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#7
Feb 8, 2008
 
I'm very pleased with the efforts to educate more people on substituting melaleuca mulch for cypress. I find it hard to believe people don't already know it,but I guess it is partly the new arrivals to Fla. The Osceola Master Gardener Program,Polk County & Marion County extension services and Lowe's are providing a real service.
Sarah Helm

College Station, TX

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#8
Feb 8, 2008
 
Thank you so much for writing this article. I think that this is an issue that many people do not know enough about.
I would encourage anyone to talk to you garden suppliers and let them know (especially Home Depot, Walmart and Lowe's) that you would like them to provide these sustainable products that live up to their corporate sustainability policies, and stop the unnecessary selling of cypress mulch.

Sarah Helm
http://SaveOurCypress.org
Cecilia

Kissimmee, FL

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#9
Feb 9, 2008
 
Thank you so very much for writing and printing this article! Job well done. This needs to be in the weekend papers as well. I buy melaluca mulch at Albertsons in Winter Park and Winter Springs. We all need to receive permission to reprint this article in all conservation and homeowner association newsletters. What say you Kumari?
Lori

Winter Garden, FL

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#10
Feb 9, 2008
 
I would like to find a supplier in the Winter Springs area. Does anyone know of one? How does this mulch compare to Eucalyptus? I like the added benefit of repelling termites---I've avoided putting plants near the foundation of my home but with this mulch it would be nice to place a few flowering shrubs.
Donn Barclay

Kissimmee, FL

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#11
Feb 9, 2008
 
Hadn't planned on making this an ongoing conversation, but I'll answer what I can. Don't know about Winter Springs nurseries, but I am trying to get small nurseries in Kissimmee/St. Cloud on board in spite of a number of problems. We'll have a list at the Osceola Extension when the program gets going more in a week or so. Be careful with your words! Melaleuca has not been proven to "repel" termites--in fact, I doubt it does. The research shows, however, that given any other alternative, they will not consume it. In other words, it does not attract them. Thus, the use of the word "resistant" rather than "repellant." There is a big difference. Even that research is fairly new, but that is really all they can say. Sorry. Being able to destroy and use an invasive while reducing the market for destroying a native plant is sufficient reason for me to use it!
Amy Medtlie

United States

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#12
Feb 11, 2008
 
I am currently working on a Gulf-wide campaign called Save Our Cypress, using education and advocacy to get people to stop using cypress mulch ( www.saveourcypress.org ). The young cypress trees that are being used do not have termite and rot resistant properties. It's great to see someone else trying to educate the public on a sustainable alternative. Thanks!
derek

Naples, FL

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#13
Feb 11, 2008
 
This is very promising and inspiring!
This could help reduce the demand for unsustainable cypress mulch while also finding a use for the dreaded melaleuca.. and the possibility for profits... all from projects that are restoring wetlands...???!!!
WIN, WIN, WIN, and WIN!!!

It looks like green jobs may help stimulate the economy.
(There is your economic stimulus package)
derek

Naples, FL

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#14
Feb 11, 2008
 
EOLA GARDENER wrote:
I spoke with the company today. They will sell direct to anyone. They also told me that they are working on much lower freight costs. Anyone want to share a load?
I live in Ft. Myers and I have been educating local landscaping companies about the unsustainability of cypress mulch.
Many of these companies have big contracts that include multiple gated communities. These companies are perfect consumers for large loads of melaleuca mulch. If you are interested in getting involved in projects like this please contact me:
djcann@eagle.fgcu.edu
Karen Kelley

AOL

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#15
Apr 18, 2008
 
Donn Barclay wrote:
Hadn't planned on making this an ongoing conversation, but I'll answer what I can. Don't know about Winter Springs nurseries, but I am trying to get small nurseries in Kissimmee/St. Cloud on board in spite of a number of problems. We'll have a list at the Osceola Extension when the program gets going more in a week or so. Be careful with your words! Melaleuca has not been proven to "repel" termites--in fact, I doubt it does. The research shows, however, that given any other alternative, they will not consume it. In other words, it does not attract them. Thus, the use of the word "resistant" rather than "repellant." There is a big difference. Even that research is fairly new, but that is really all they can say. Sorry. Being able to destroy and use an invasive while reducing the market for destroying a native plant is sufficient reason for me to use it!
I did see an article in the Univ of FL Extension Newsletter IFAS of APR-MAY-JUN 1999 called Mulch Confusion. The article said that Dr. Mary Duryea, a professor in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the Univ of FL tested properties of 6 different mulches including melaleuca and cypress. Only melaleuca mulch repelled termites. That is right. The article said repelled.(Source: Presentation by Dr. Duryea at the Tree and Landscape Short Course in Tampa). I agree with you that I would choose choose melaleuca because it is doubly good for our eco-system but there is proof it is better.
Janice

AOL

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#16
Sep 30, 2008
 
Donn Barclay & Osceola Extension have been actively promoting education on melaleuca mulch for a while now. They bring it in for their plant sales twice a year & send reminders (got mine today - it's this weekend @ Osceola Heritage Park in the back) if you sign up. They also actively promote local nurseries who carry it. Personally, I would much rather buy from any of them than the big stores. Having said that, I would welcome a little progressive behavior from the big guys, as well as the local lawn companies & individuals who look at us like we have 2 heads when we tell them they better get up to the plant sale to get some of this great mulch. Old habits die hard, I guess, but we'll all go the way of the dinosaurs if some of these folks don't 'evolve'. It's great stuff. It's all that's in our yard anymore. Makes me feel good not to be contributing to cypress kill. I just wish the fire ants hated it :-)
One Bad Cat

United States

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#17
Sep 30, 2008
 
This is brilliant.
peggy

Apopka, FL

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#18
Jan 6, 2010
 
EOLA GARDENER wrote:
I spoke with the company today. They will sell direct to anyone. They also told me that they are working on much lower freight costs. Anyone want to share a load?
I'm looking for the CO. that sells this wholesale can you let me know the INFO to get in touch with them.
peggy795@embarqmail.com Thanks
william

Niceville, FL

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#19
Feb 15, 2010
 
Searching for 200 bags of 2 cubic foot melaleuca mulch for weed control in Okaloosa county in Niceville,Florida. Need to know who carries the product or cost to ship to my home for spring yard spruce up.
Thank you
DCinNJ

Blackwood, NJ

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#21
Jun 17, 2010
 
I am looking for enough melaleuca mulch to cover approx 650 sq ft at a depth of approx 2-3 inches in southern New Jersey.

Anyone know where I can get it?

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