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Mulch madness 

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Plants parched? Bushes bushed? Garden grumpy?

Local nonprofit and community groups can receive free leaf mulch and compost from Durham's Department of Solid Waste Management. Churches, schools, homeowners' associations, neighborhood groups and other nonprofits qualify. The city will give priority to groups that can pick up the mulch or compost, although delivery is available.

After nonprofit groups have taken what they need, private companies that will use the mulch to beautify properties visible from streets and sidewalks can also apply. As for regular ole' Durham residents, call the Department of Solid Waste Management to request a gift certificate for a free load of mulch or compost, although there's no delivery.

Landscaping companies or other businesses that make money off mulch aren't eligible.

Application deadline is July 31. Download an application at www.durhamnc.gov/departments/solid/earth_announce.cfm.

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