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Is Colored Mulch Safe To Use In Your Garden?
By ROGER ADLER
Some dyed mulch is derived from questionable wood sources and may contain harmful binding agents and chemicals that can potentially harm flowers, edible plants, humans, and pets. Buying dyed mulch from a reputable source is crucial to ensure your environment is protected and safe, and consider inspecting samples before purchasing them in bulk.
While new wood products don't have contaminants, there is a never-ending supply of bad lumber waste, so you want to watch out for mulch containing CCA (chromium, copper, and arsenic) or creosote. If the wood's origin is good and color agents aren't harmful, then dyed mulch with natural and organic dyes that are safe for humans and pets can be used in the garden.
Cedar is a naturally red substitute for dyed mulch that is safe to use, but when spreading it, use only one inch or less on top of a two to three-inch layer of compost and rake the product weekly. Runoff from dyed fertilizer can stain concrete driveways, so hose it down right away and use gloves when spreading it.