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Our town mulched garden beds last week and this is the result...

last year

My garden club plants the gardens in our town greens. Just before Memorial Day, the town's contracted landscapers spread mulch (their responsibility -- we provide and maintain the plantings, they provide the mulch). In virtually every bed we know of, within a few hours, there was immense damage to the foliage of the perennials and/or annuals, some newly planted, others that had been in and doing well for years. We have no idea where to turn to get the mulch tested, to find out if the plants can be salvaged, and if the toxins or chemical (assuming one is involved) needs to be removed. Where can we get a mulch sample tested for chemicals? What would cause this kind of damage to plants within 24 hours? Any thoughts or suggestions. We are a garden club; the town hires a landscaper to mow the lawns, treat with fertilizers, and provide the mulch for the town gardens. We have no clue where they got it this year but I presume we can ask... a FOIA if necessary!! First pic is of a newly planted (as of 5/27) impatiens. Other pics are of perennials (

Lambs Ear, Lady's Mantle

A low (groundcover) astilbe, much of it "fried" literally shriveled and crisped -- it looked fine 2 weeks ago, before being mulched.

Any thoughts as to what could have been in a mulch to cause this kind of damage in less than a week... more like a day or two? Should the mulch be removed by the contractor? How can we find out what might be going on?? Contacting our Experiment Station in the morning but wondering if anyone here has any thoughts or theories...

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