Preventing Sour Mulch
Sour mulch may result when stockpiled mulch becomes compacted — usually due to high piling. This prevents oxygen from reaching the inner regions of the pile, resulting in anaerobic fermentation of the wood — a process that produces organic acids.
Here's how to avoid this potentially plant-damaging mulch condition:
- BASF recommends limiting the height of processed mulch piles to 10 feet or less; ideally configured in compost windrows less than 5 feet tall so mulch can be turned frequently to promote aerobic decomposition.
- Correct the acidic condition by spreading the processed wood fiber in a shallow layer and watering heavily to leach away potentially toxic chemicals.
- Add large amounts of limestone to also help neutralize acidity.