Posted: April 19, 2021

Researchers find contents of mulch bags don't match claims.

Your bag of mulch may not be what you think it is. In a study, researchers in the college found that some bags labeled as "cypress" contain only 50 percent cypress, while others contained no cypress at all.

"Many mulch products claim to be composed of cypress," said researcher Judd Michael, Nationwide Insurance Professor of Ag Safety and Health. "But some of the largest mulch manufacturers have been accused of intentionally misleading consumers about the species mix, and it is difficult if not impossible for consumers to know whether the product is indeed the species listed on the packaging."

In response to complaints about misleading packaging and fraudulent behavior by these companies, Michael and Charles Ray, associate professor of ecosystem science and management, conducted an investigation and devised a process to determine the wood species included in bags of mulch and their percentages.

--Jeff Mulhollem