Free Wood Chip Mulch

Did you know that the Bureau of Forestry creates wood chips from the debris resulting from trees and branches they remove? The Bureau of Forestry creates mulch that can be used to enhance the appearance of playgrounds, city owned empty lots and even private property.

Yes, even homeowners can benefit from the program. If you call 3-1-1 you can request free wood chip mulch to beautify your garden or landscape in Chicago. Be prepared to accept a minimum of 6-10 cubic yards of the chips and have someone home to accept the wood chips at the time of delivery. 


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  • This is good to know. Our condo association pays for a crew to come in with mulch once a year and I think we can avoid it. I'll take a look at our area to see if 10 cubic feet would be overwhelming for us. I found this conversion cahrt useful:

    Cubic Yard Coverage

    1 Cubic Yard Covers 324 square feet 1" deep

    1 Cubic Yard Covers 162 square feet 2" deep

    1 Cubic Yard Covers 108 square feet 3" deep

    1 Cubic Yard Covers 81 square feet 4" deep

    1 Cubic Yard Covers 54 square feet 5" deep


  • In reply to CandidWines:

    Thanks for the conversion chart. I was going to look it up but ended up getting lost in Facebook instead.

  • In reply to CandidWines:

    Just a word of caution on city mulch. Mulch I used to get from Evanston (when they let anyone get it and not just residents) was infested with earwigs. It took me years to eradicate it.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Hi Xan,

    Sorry for the late reply...I was doing some Googling about this and it seems like this mulch was composted, when the program was active, to kill off insect maybe it wouldn't be a problem with the City's mulch but just Evanston's?

  • In reply to CandidWines:

    Actually, the free mulch has been cut to due budget cut backs. 311 will stupidly still take an order for free mulch, but if you call the bureau of forestry, they have suspended this service.

  • In reply to stivovance:


    Sorry for the extremely late reply but I wanted to say thanks for the comment. This post has generated some talk on today 6/7/10 on Twitter, where some people wonder if it is still available. One person called twice and was told what you said the first time and the second time was told that it is still an active program.

    Beth Botts, garden writer at the Trib, also says she thinks the program is currently not active. I've tried calling the bureau of forestry but nobody answers when I call.

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