Update on My Mulch Situation

Here’s a money-saving tip for gardeners who use PG&E as their utility: As I talked about on here before, I was determined to find cheap mulch for the garden. I followed up on the rumor that your electric company will give you free or cheap mulch. The idea is that since the electric company is trimming branches and running them through wood chippers, they will deliver some of it to your house for you to use in your garden as mulch.
I called PG&E, who does the service in my area, and the girl on the other end of the phone didn’t know what mulch was. I had a long conversation with her and neither she nor her supervisor really knew what to do with me. She put in a work order with the tree trimming department and said they would get back to me in three weeks.
So I hung up and did a Google search and found the following from a FAQ on the PG&E website:
Can I get wood chips?
Yes. Our contractors are always looking for customers to accept wood chips. This is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of the wood chips. Wood chips make great mulch, keep weeds down and keep trees moist. Please call 1-800-743-5000 if you are interested in this service. A load of chips is about 10 cubic yards of mixed tree material.

I called again, used the phrase “wood chips” instead of mulch in explaining what I wanted and was given the numbers to companies that do tree trimming for PG&E. I called the one that does my area, and a man told me that I could have as much mulch as I wanted, for free. The problem was that they only came through my area once a year, in July. I had missed the window for this year.
However, he was willing to sign me up for next year. Next July, PG&E will bring two truck loads of mulch to my yard. For free. I plan to use it liberally in the garden beds and store whatever is left in plastic garbage cans.
So there you have it–my future mulch needs are covered. No more buying $5 bags of wood chips. This will save me at least $150 a year and cut down on the cost of gardening considerably.

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3 thoughts on “Update on My Mulch Situation”

  1. The tree trimming guy and I went over how much a “truck load” is. It 10 cubit feet of mulch per truck. I have a giant vegetable garden, a big flower patch, an herb/citrus garden, and next year I am going to start landscaping the backyard, which means I will need even more mulch. The is also the back path behind out garage. If we have any extra, as I mentioned, we will store them in garbage cans. I need a lot of mulch.

  2. Word of warning–our city picks up homeowners’ branches, chips them, and offers free delivery of wood chips. One year we requested a truckload of wood chips and were very unhappy with what we received–we got fairly large chunks of wood, not the finely chipped stuff you buy in bags. We ended up using it under bushes as it was too big and ugly to use as garden mulch.


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