The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 March 2006

Thank you very mulch

A reader of Bob Waldrop's Oklahoma Food Blog has a warning for us gardening-oriented types:

[B]e very careful about buying mulch this year. After the hurricane in New Orleans many trees were blown over. These trees were then turned into mulch and the state is trying to get rid of tons and tons of this mulch to any state or company who will come and haul it away.

So it will be showing up in Home Depot and Lowes at dirt cheap prices with one huge problem; Formosan Termites will be the bonus in many of those bags. New Orleans is one of the few areas in the country where the Formosan Termites has gotten a strong hold and most of the trees blown down were already badly infested with those termites. Now we may have the worst case of transporting a problem to all parts of the country that we have ever had. These termites can eat a house in no time at all and we have no good control against them, so tell your friends that own homes to avoid cheap mulch and know where it came from.

LSU's Ag Center has issued this report on the critters.

File this under "invasive species."

Update, 3:15 pm: Snopes is doubtful about this; also, Home Depot says they don't buy bulk mulch from this part of the world.

Posted at 6:20 AM to Dyssynergy

TrackBack: 9:22 AM, 6 March 2006
» Much Ado About Mulch from Yippee-Ki-Yay!

Beware of cheap mulch, says Bob Waldrop (scroll down to "Termite Warning"): Pam Ferry of Healing Herbals has sent along a warning she has received about the potential problems involved with buying cheap commercial mulch. She writes, “...

...[read more]

Woah... Thanks for the warning. This weekend we got the backyard all cleaned out and ready for the annual ritual of spreading the mulch. I'll take extra precautions when buying. Maybe just cover the whole thing with river rocks this year.

Posted by: Winston at 6:46 AM on 6 March 2006

Fortunately most folks around here mulch with pinestraw.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:13 AM on 6 March 2006

A notoriously prolific e-mailing in-law sent me that same message a day ago. Considering the source, I ran to snopes to see if it was an urban legend. The verdict is probably so:

However, although particular scenario described in the message quoted at the head of this page might be possible, it isn't likely because the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry imposed a quarantine on several parishes back in October 2005 specifically to prevent the accidental movement of Formosan subterranean termite to other areas. According to that agency's Assistant Commissioner, the disposal of wood-based debris within those parishes is being monitored to ensure that the end results are not transported outside the quarantined area:

Posted by: Don Mecoy at 2:48 PM on 6 March 2006

Well, that qualifies as something of a relief, if that's the case. (And thanks.)

Posted by: CGHill at 3:12 PM on 6 March 2006

I went ahead and e-mailed the Georgia ag department anyway. What the hey.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:52 PM on 6 March 2006