Free Mulch. Why You Want It & Where to Get It

Why Mulch? 

If you've never experienced the magic of mulch, here's what to expect: fewer weeds, less evaporation (less watering!), and your soil will become more nutrient as the mulch breaks down. Mulch also helps insulate plants against hot and cold weather spells.  Consider using mulch in flower beds, pathways, and around trees.

Tips for Mulching 

Trees:  Keep mulch about 6" away from trunks of trees and bushes to avoid rot, and lay down about a 4" layer.

Flower Beds:  Freshly made mulch can compete with flowers for nutrients, use cured mulch around flowers and vegetables.

Pathways:  Pull weeds and place a few layers of newspaper or cardboard under about 5" of mulch to kill grass. Water deeply to kick-start the decomposition process. The cardboard or newspaper will biodegrade over time releasing nitrogen into the soil.  

Free Mulch Year Round

The City of Chicago offers free mulch year-round at five locations. Mulch is available on a first come, first served basis from 6:30am to 2:30pm Monday-Friday. Take your own containers and shovels.

• 4101 North Oak Park Avenue (Chicago Read Center)
• Grand and Rockwell  (South of Grand Avenue, behind of the salt pile, along the south fence)
• 52nd and Oakley (near the Salt Dome)
• 2342 South Ashland Avenue (North West corner of property)
• 900 East 103rd Street (North East corner of property)

This  handy mulch calculator helps determine how much mulch you'll need.

If you're in need of a large batch of mulch, Crosstown SavATree will deliver a truckload (about 15 cubic yards) of woodchips to your home, free of charge. Request service on their website

Sources:
City of Chicago
TreePeople  [pdf]
Chicago Community Gardens 

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