A little known factoid: The City of Boise, Community Forestry Department has some very VERY nice wood mulch available for a suhweeet price: $15 per cubic yard. This is a medium size, shredded bark, a little dusty at first, but once you water it down, in place, it works nicely. I have put it around my flagstones to create a path that crosses my back garden. We don’t have a pick up, so we took several large garbage cans in our SUV, and had them fill them up. While we probably didn’t get a whole yard, the price was right. The chips are from the chipper/shredder program/tree removal and cleanup and from our city (recycle when you can!)Very little bark, mostly shredded hardwood. No one can claim these chips are organic, since the trees are generally on private property lines or hell strips or right of ways. But the stuff is clean , and a great alternative to heavy rocks or gravel. It is permeable, allowing rain/water to move through to the soil underneath. It will break down over time, looks good, and holds moisture in the ground and keeps it several degrees cooler.
Caveat: use it judiciously and carefully if you are in a fire prone area: the foothills, the mountains, etc. I put it only in the part of my garden that faces the city, not the foothills. There I have an automated sprinkler system, and the wooden chip pathways are surrounded by stone and green shrubbery. It looks like this:
For more information, call the Boise City Forestry department here at 208-608-7700. Click here for an image of their chip pile.