McNeilly Pallet Blog

Does pallet mulch contain nails?


Mulch refers to any material laid over the ground to insulate and nourish the soil. In addition to enhancing soil fertility, mulch shields plants from harmful pests and insects. It can also provide a safe surface for public parks and playgrounds.

One way to produce mulch is by breaking down old pallets that are extremely damaged and not suitable for repair or reuse. Crushed wooden pallets make excellent mulch for use in large scale landscaping projects, public works, and even on farms as animal bedding.

But it’s a common misconception that since pallets feature nails, the resulting mulch also contains nails and is not a safe product. McNeilly Wood Products produces over 1 million pallets and 20,000+ pounds of mulch annually, so we are confident when we say that is simply not true. Here is a detailed explanation of how pallet mulch is made and why it is, in many ways, superior to natural mulch.

How is pallet mulch made, and what happens to the nails?

Old, damaged pallets are gathered and processed in heavy tub grinders to produce mulch. Between processing operations, the mulch travels on a succession of conveyor belts. Cross-belt magnets on the belts pick out nails and other metals from the wood, guaranteeing that the final product is only wood mulch. The multiple grinding steps ensure the pallet mulch comes out with the right texture, consistent and nail-free!

Can pallet mulch be dyed?

Yes! Dyed mulch is highly desirable in the industries we work with. The easiest way to dye mulch is by using iron-oxide water-based colors that are all natural, eco-friendly, and safe for children, pets, and livestock. Iron-oxide dyes result in vibrant hues of red, black, and warm brown.

Pallet mulch has excellent color retention, ensuring that your grounds retain a desirable color no matter the weather. This is one reason our mulch is preferable to natural mulch, such as shredded bark, which lose their color considerably more quickly.

How is pallet mulch different from natural mulch?

Natural mulch is a bit of a misnomer, because both types of mulch are made from natural wood products. Technically both are organic mulches because they come from once-living plant matter.

Pallet mulch is made from real lumber, typically a mix of woods like pine and oak, that has been processed into slats and circulated through shipping use in the form of pallets. These boards may have been heat-treated at one time to ensure the wood is exceptionally dry and resistant to rot. This mulch may also be processed using sawdust from cutting the lumber, or with new wood offcuts which have never been circulated. We do not mulch any chemically-treated pallets, so there is no risk of receiving wood mulch filled with pesticides. The end result is a consistent, dry mulch, free from any unknown plant matter and ready to apply.

Natural Mulch by contrast comes in a variety of materials, including straw, bark, leaves, and wood chips. It is often valued for its perceived natural look, but this mulch has the potential to contain fungus or weed seeds that can add unwanted plant matter to your applications. Like pallet mulch, it can be dyed. However, it is less receptive to dyes and tends to fade faster than pallet mulch. Because it contains a variety of materials, it may also bring allergens, and is susceptible to mold under the right conditions.

If you’re looking for a dry mulch that doesn’t mold and holds color well, consider sourcing organic pallet mulch for your industry!

Why use wooden pallet mulch?

If you want to cover your grass with something environmentally friendly, wooden pallet mulch is a great choice. If you run a landscaping business, buying wooden pallet mulch and also recycling old, damaged pallets can help reduce the quantity of waste that ends up in landfills.

Mulch provides amazing results for planting applications, such as better water retention and reduced weed development. In addition, pallet mulch is a risk-free, non-toxic material that anyone can use.

Colored mulch can be deployed to highlight a beautiful bush or garden on a lawn, or it can simply starve off damaging insects and pests. Another advantage of pallet mulch is that it comes from older wood, meaning it may break down faster, supplying gardens with nutrients if you need a quick fix.

Overall, not only is pallet mulch safe, it’s a better option across the board

Pallet mulch is produced from used wooden pallets and helps prevent wood waste from entering landfills. The pallet production process involves a lot of care to separate nails and other metals from the wood, ensuring the resulting mulch is safe for popular use. It’s resistant to mold, and the color stays vibrant and appealing. Compared to natural mulch, the only thing pallet mulch suffers from is being misunderstood!

For further questions regarding the subject, contact our knowledgeable team and we’ll be happy to help.

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We are leaders in New York pallet manufacturing, operating on a 40 acre facility in Campbell Hall, NY. We deliver within a 90 mile radius and are capable of supplying multiple trailer loads on a short timeline. Fill out our webform to request pallet services, or call us directly to speak to our team.