Q: I have always used pine bark or red oak mulch since I like the dark reddish color. It looks natural to me. I have been seeing pecan shell mulch lately and it really looks good. What do you think of the use of pecan shells for shrub/tree/flower bed mulch? Is it environmentally friendly? Does it help to control weeds as good as hardwood mulch?
A: Any time you can beneficially use a material that was formerly considered waste you’ll get my approval. The cracked shells make a fine mulch. You’ll have LOTS of bird and squirrel friends in your garden for a few weeks if you use shells that are fresh from the sheller. After that, the animals disappear and the shells conserve moisture and prevent weeds under shrubs like any other mulch. I wouldn’t use them for covering a pathway: they are too hard on your bare feet!