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A Garden’s View
May/June Issue

Garden Center Hours
Monday through Friday 9 am until 6 pm

Saturday 9am until 3 pm

Sunday 11 am until 4 pm through Father’s Day weekend

Plant a tree for Pop Sale

Our Father’s Day Sale will run Wednesday, June 13 through Sunday, June 17, 2007. Trees will be 30% off*. No room for a tree? Plant some perennials for Pop! Perennials will also be included in this sale, buy 4 get one free (of equal or lesser value)

*trees sold at the sale price are not covered under the one year guarantee. Delivery is available. Trees to be planted by Mann’s Landscape are sold at the regular price and are covered by the guarantee

Should I boycott cypress mulch?
Written by Bert Cregg, Horticulture and Forestry, MSU

Printed in Vol. 22 No. 6, May 18, 2007


It’s hard to think of mulch as a controversial topic, but as with most things these days, we find people on both sides of an issue. As with most things these days, some of the opinions are based on substance, others are not. In the southern United States, some environmental groups are advocating a boycott of cypress mulch. Cypress mulch is derived from bald cypress and pond cypress, which grow in ecologically sensitive wetlands in the Southeast. Cypress wood is highly valued for it’s natural decay resistance, Florida and Louisiana are the leading states for cypress harvesting for timber and other products. In Louisiana it is unclear if cypress is logged solely for mulch, but cypress harvesting for mulch does occur in Florida. According to Dr. Jim Chambers, professor of Forestry at Louisiana State University and chair of a governor’s science panel on forested wetlands in Louisiana, cypress mulch production is a sensitive issue. “Many of our cypress-tupelo forests are in a severe state of decline. As you can imagine, these forests are very important to south Louisiana for many reasons. Areas permanently flooded, areas that are flooded for substantial parts of the growing season and areas subjected to salt water input, cannot regenerate. The amount of forested areas with these conditions continues to increase as subsidence increases, coastal wetlands are eroded by storms, and human impacts on hydrology continue to degrade many sites”.

The inability to regenerate new stands of cypress is an important concern and calls into question the sustainability of cypress harvesting o these sites. Chambers is working with environmental groups and others to develop a process to certify that mulch is produced from sustainable forest harvest operations.
Another issue related to cypress mulch, is a claim that is circulating in parts of Michigan ( and perhaps elsewhere) that cypress mulch is linked to cancer. I conducted a search of the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health literature database (www.pubmed.gov) on cypress an cancer. The only hits I found were related to studies looking at false cypress (Chamacyparis)extracts for anti-cancer properties, similar to taxol. The claims of cypress mulch and cancer may be an amalgam of the environmental concerns over cypress harvesting discussed above, and concerns over use of mulch derived from CCA ( chromated copper arsenate) treated wood, which is used for decking an other uses similar to cypress. Research has shown that leachate from mulch containing CCA treated wood can have elevated levels of arsenic and metals above established health standards.
What should I use for a natural looking mulch?

Mann’s Landscape Garden’s continues to sell and promote hardwood shredded bark mulch. Our source is a local sawmill, and it is supplied fresh on a week to week basis as needed. Bark mulch is an excellent topdressing for beds to keep plants cool in the summer, warmer in the winter, and moist in drier times. It also aids in weed suppression and adds organic material to the soil. Bark mulch does not contribute to nitrogen deficiency in plants, as dyed mulches ( made of chipped pallets) can do. It is a renewable, all natural resource, with no added chemicals. It will not attract insects or animals. Bagged cedar mulch is also an available option for a natural look.

We are not proponents of cocoa bean mulch, and so do not carry it.

Calling All Master Gardeners!

You’ve sat through countless classes, you’ve weeded for volunteer hours, and licked envelopes for the extension office time and time again. Now is the time to work in your own yard and garden, and we have just the incentive! Saturday, June 30 we will be having a special Master Gardener’s Sale! All (in stock) plant items will be 15% off to those who wear their Master Gardener name tag. Come one, come all!

Don’t blow up the neighborhood, call MISS DIG!

It is so exciting, picking out a large beautiful tree to be planted in your yard. The years of memories to look forward to, the shade it will provide, and the beauty it will add to the yard are all good reasons to purchase a tree. It will all be a bad dream, however, if the entire neighborhood loses power during a heat wave, or you hit a gas line while digging a hole.

We all take it for granted that utility lines are safe and out of harm’s way, but when you begin digging to plant a large B+B (balled and burlapped) tree, MISS DIG should be called to verify placement of lines. Some shrubs, perennials, and some annuals here and there should not cause concern when digging, but when planting larger tree specimens, play it safe.

MISS DIG, 1-800-482-7171 is a free service provided by utility companies. With several days notice, they will come out and mark utility lines, so that you know where it is safe to dig. When you call, be armed with pertinent information:


-nearest cross streets or main intersections

-name of township, city or village where you live

Petiole borer at large

Seeing maple leaves scattered on your lawn? Don’t stress and don’t spray. This pesky little insect chews the petiole of the maple leaf (the part that connects the leaf to the branch) causing the leaf litter. Very soon, the borer will stop feeding and everything will be back to normal. You may notice it more in some years, less in others.
Ask Olivia
Dear Olivia,

My parents won’t let me watch DVD’s while we are in the car traveling together. They like to sing silly songs, I prefer to just look out the window. I have noticed there are a lot of pretty plants that grow along the road and in the woods. Can I grow any of these plants in my yard?

Dear friend,

An excellent question for me to address this month! My own parents were just talking the other day about the use of native plants in the landscape.

I want to caution you against digging plants out of the woods or natural areas. Even though you may have property rights, many natively grown plants do not transplant well. You will have the best success visiting a local nursery and purchasing container grown items. Many of these items have been selected and raised to be disease and pest resistance. Some of my favorite Midwest native plants include:
Shrubs                                                  Perennials

Red twig dogwood                                   milkweed

Witchazel                                               bleeding heart

Viburnum                                                lupine

Michigan holly                                          purple coneflower

Fothergilla                                               Black-eyed Susan

Oaks                                                      columbine

Maples                                                    jack in the pulpit

Redbud                                                   coreopsis

By the way friend, you think your parents are weird for singing songs, how would you like to have parents who expect you to learn the scientific names of plants at 2 and a half!
Our Field Reporter (and my sister) Madilyn adds:

We have lots of poison ivy growing in our yards and natural areas. remember this rhyme, “Leaves of three, let it be”. many confuse Virginia creeper with this icky plant because it grows up trees, like poison ivy. Virginia Creeper has 5 LEAVES. If YOU THINK YOU HAVE COME IN CONTACT WITH POISON IVY, WASH WELL WITH A DISH DETERGENT (TO DISPERSE THE PLANT OILS WHICH CAUSE THE RASH) AND WASH ALL CLOTHES THAT CAME IN CONTACT WITH THE PLANT AS WELL. Do not burn poison ivy, because it can get into your lungs. My grandma inhaled poison ivy smoke one time and had to go to the hospital.