Thursday, July 2, 2015

Where to Find Free Mulch in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Free Mulch

Your Resource for Free Mulch in Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles provides free quality mulch in 11 convenient locations. The Free Mulch Give-Away program is available to all residents of Los Angeles on a self-serve basis. All you need are a few basic tools and a little muscle to take advantage of the program.

Where does the mulch come from? The Bureau of Sanitation operates three composting facilities throughout the city: the Harbor Yard Trimmings Facility in San Pedro, the Lopez Canyon Environmental Center in Lake View Terrace, and the Griffith Park Compost Facility in Los Feliz.

The mulch is produced from a mixture of residential green bin contents, tree trimmings from private contractors, horse manure, zoo animal waste, and biosolids created by the treatment of wastewater. Sounds awful ... but your garden will love you for it.

The mulch and compost produced by the facilities is top-quality, and is made available at no charge to community gardens, local farmers, and city residents. The only drawback is that you might drive to a pick-up location only to find a deserted lot. Sometimes the mulch disappears quickly. Too bad they don't have mulch-cams at each pick-up site. We've learned to keep an eye on the mulch pick-up location closest to our home, and drop by frequently while running errands. When the pile is high and the mulch is rich, we grab our gear and go!

Los Angeles Free Mulch
Griffith Park Compost Facility

Eleven Locations to Serve Los Angeles Residents

Boyle Heights
850 N. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90033

East L.A. (near Boyle Heights)
2649 E. Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Elysian Valley
3000 Gilroy Street, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Lake View Terrace (Near Sylmar)
11950 Lopez Canyon Road, San Fernando Valley, CA 91342

Lincoln Heights
1903 Humboldt Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031

North Hills (near Van Nuys Airport)
16600 Roscoe Place, North Hills, CA 91343

North Hollywood (near Burbank)
Corner of Vineland Avenue & W. Chandler Boulevard, San Fernando Valley, Ca 91601

San Pedro
1400 N. Gaffey Street, San Pedro, CA 90731

Sun Valley (near Sheldon-Arleta Park)
12455 Wicks Street, San Fernando Valley, CA 91352

Van Nuys (near D.C. Tillman Plant)
15800 Victory Boulevard, San Fernando Valley, CA 91406

West L.A.
6001 Bowcroft Street, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Los Angeles Free Mulch
Mulch Pick-Up Location at Griffith Park

Save Money!
The package of mulch shown below sells for about $23.00 online. We routinely fill our truck with ten times this amount.

Mega Mulch Beautifying Ground Cover
8.8 lbs (Covers Approximately 2.5 Cubic Feet)
Tools and Supplies
No matter which pick-up location you choose, you'll need to bring your own tools and supplies. We're seasoned mulchers and have noted that the other regulars all use basic equipment like garden gloves, dust masks, heavy-duty handled containers, waterproof tarps, and an ample-sized shovel or fork.

Truper Tru Tough Spading Fork
A spading fork will definitely come in handy. We always take one along. The handle on this model is made from North American ash, and the tines are clear-coated gray steel. Dirt will wash off easily with your garden hose. There's that D-handle I love. This 30-inch long fork makes it easier for me to scoop, but if you prefer a longer, straight handle it will work just as well.
Rubbermaid Commercial Brute Heavy-Duty Waste/Utility Container
One of my contractor friends gave me a heavy duty Rubbermaid pail about 15 years ago and it's still going strong. We load mulch into the container, then dump it into the truck bed, which we first line with a tarp. We generally load 12 to 15 containers of mulch each time we pick up. Once you get home, it's so much easier to unload mulch when you can just dump it into a container with handles and move it anywhere in your garden. It doesn't sound like fun, but you'll experience instant gratification when fresh mulch is placed in your garden beds.
Blue Multi-Purpose Tarpaulin (16 x 20-ft)
A waterproof tarp will protect your car trunk or truck bed, so make the investment if you plan to collect mulch on a regular basis. We keep ours folded in the truck, ready to go.
Particulate Respirator with Valve
Take care of your lungs. Be sure to wear a mask to filter out dust and particulate matter while you collect mulch and again when you spread it in your garden. The cheapo masks do not work as well--and forget bandanas. These best-sellers are about $1.50 each and will last for quite a while.

Griffith Park
5400 Griffith Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Los Angeles Free Mulch

Griffith Park Compost Facility
Los Feliz, California

The Griffith Park Compost Facility processes biosolids from the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant, green waste from Griffith Park, and animal waste from the nearby Los Angeles Zoo.

Quality mulch is available directly across from the processing area (shown here). The photo below shows the mulch pick-up area. We back our truck right up to the pile and start loading. It's a popular spot with Southland gardeners -- we're always in good company at this facility.

Griffith Park is the pick-up spot closest to our home, and it's one of three mulching/composting facilities operated by the Bureau of Sanitation. It's not on the official list of 11 pick-up facilities, but this spot is open to the public during regular park hours. There are signs in the park to direct you there.

Los Angeles Free Mulch
Mulch Pick-Up Location at Griffith Park

Griffith Park - Images of America
by E.J. Stephens and Marc Wanamaker
Griffith Park is a rugged, 4,300-acre wilderness located in the heart of Los Angeles, California. The area is home to the Los Angeles Zoo, Travel Town Museum, the Autry National Center, Griffith Observatory, and the Hollywood Sign.

Los Angeles Free Mulch
Griffith Park Compost Facility

Lasagna Gardening
A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!
by Patricia Lanza

I started my own version of lasagna gardening long before I heard of Patricia Lanza, but she has since become my go-to expert on the subject of mulch. This is the first of three books she has written about her lasagna gardening techniques, and her conversational writing style will make you feel like she's right there with you in the garden. Who wants to spend all day pulling weeds? Save your back and learn to layer like a pro.

The Wisconsin Gardener
Learn the lasagna gardening technique used by master gardener Roger Reynolds. I like his use of cardboard, which is harder for animals to dig up. Our garden attracts the usual suspects--skunks, raccoons, 'possums. They love to dig, especially in mulch!

Protect Your Hands from Splinters and Critters
Women Soft Jersey Garden Gloves
I use these inexpensive cotton print garden gloves for mulch detail. They're great for small jobs like loading and spreading compost. I recently made the mistake of spreading a tiny portion of mulch with my bare hands and was stung by an angry bee. You never know what's lurking below! These pretty flower print jersey gloves are made of 100 percent cotton. They feature knit wristbands to keep dirt out and PVC dots on the palm side for a better grip. The set includes three pairs of gloves in green, red, and blue.

Los Angeles Free Mulch
Mulch Pick-Up Location at Griffith Park

Free Mulch is Available to All Los Angeles Residents
Update from the Los Angeles Sanitation Department
Sadly, our Lopez Canyon facility lost its mulch equipment in the Creek Fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But unfortunately, our operations at this facility were temporarily halted. This means we stopped processing green waste to produce mulch.

In order to get operations back online, we moved equipment from our small Harbor yard to our larger Lopez Canyon facility. We began processing green waste again in early February. The mulching process takes roughly 30 days, and we anticipate delivering to our self-service locations again in early to mid March. However, home mulch deliveries are still temporarily halted until further notice.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Los Angeles Sanitation
Learn About Free Mulch Programs in Los Angeles

Compost Happens Shirts and Buttons
Share a Little Garden Humor with Your Mulching Pals

Beautify Your Home and Garden