Today, I went to measure and take photos for my next design project. It was hot, so I wore my Crocs. But the client had either that red lava rock (as mulch), or fir bark everywhere. It was dry… meaning dusty. In the process of merely walking around doing what I had to do, I got a zillion slivers… and I didn’t even touch the mulch! OUCH! OK, not a ZILLION, but a lot, at least 5-10 in each foot. I washed my feet, and I have used tweezers as best I can, but I can still feel them in there.
Fir bark is loaded with slivers, and it seems that many garden supply stores, in addition to their fir bark mulch (usually the reddish product), are using fir bark to make compost these days. I talked about this in the previous post. The mulch in my client’s yard was really fine and dark… meaning it’s at least partially composted. Good looking stuff. But I can tell it’s fir based because of all the slivers. Until this gardening season, I’d not seen partially composted FIR mulch much before. I really think it’s vile stuff. Painful at least.
So… if you want to always have to wear shoes and socks and gloves every time you go out into your garden even for a walk… then go ahead and use garden products containing fir bark. But if you don’t want slivers, or you like wearing sandals or your garden clogs without socks, use hemlock mulch or compost made from leaves or other yard waste (or of course hemlock bark), but NOT containing fir bark.
I know, I know… I live in the land of Douglas fir. Though…Washington’s state tree is the western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)… a beautiful tree, stately… and SOFT. Is it wrong to want our state tree as my garden’s mulch? Hmmmmmmmm…