You can buy mulch, but there are multiple ways to get mulch for free. My favorite is picking up my own through the Pasadena Mulch Giveaway Program, a City offering. Pasadena Public Works drops a temporary pile of mulch almost every two weeks in one of two locations. The mulch is usually aged and of good quality. (If not, contact the Pasadena Citizen Service Center.)
Check the dates and put them on your calendar. On the appointed day, put on a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots. Wear a garden hat and garden gloves. Bring water to drink and a face mask to keep dust out of your nose and tissues (you will still get dust in your nose).
If you don’t have a pickup truck, bring some large containers like empty trash cans or bins which you can cram into the back seat and/or trunk of your car. If you have enough of them, they won’t fall over.
To move mulch you might use a 5 gallon bucket instead of a pitch fork or shovel; this helps save the upper back from injury. Take the bucket to the temporary mulch pile and, using gloved hands, scoop mulch from the top of the pile into the bucket. Carry the full bucket to your car or truck and dump it. Repeat and enjoy the smell.
Other sources of free mulch:
1. Ask any tree trimmer who visits your street if they are willing to dump some of their wood chips on your property. Sometimes they say yes. You might get too much, and it will be raw not aged, but you won’t have to lift it bucket by bucket.
2. Sign up with an online connection website like ChipDrop for delivery.
3. Some other cities also have mulch give away programs for their residents such as South Pasadena, along the edge of the Arroyo and Glendale, at Brand Park.
4. In a pinch I go to Griffith Park outside the composting facility. It’s hard to find so click here for a map.
Transition Pasadena’s project Mulch for the People wants to get more mulch to more people more easily. Feel free to contact us on our Facebook page.
Upcoming dates for the Pasadena Mulch Giveaway Program:
April 20 and May 18 at Robinson Park
May 4 at Victory Park