How to Choose the Right Mulch
Mulching is a critical part of keeping your property looking its very best.
There are two categories of mulch: organic and inorganic. Let’s start with organic.
All organic mulch have similar functions, but depending upon what and where you’re mulching, some are better suited than others.
When you’re planting new beds or mulching intensively grown beds, more dense mulch like manure works well. It breaks down the fastest and as it decomposes it, improves the soil structure. Manure mulch is rich with nutrients that will help make your vegetable gardens more productive, and you’re striving flowerbeds look full.
For professional gardens, wheat straw mulch helps to protect your plants from fungus and disease, which can cause plant rot. It also helps to deter pest insects from laying eggs and multiplying in and around your garden. It’s commonly used to mulch freshly seeded lawns. It helps protect the seed from birds and rodents and it also helps to retain soil moisture while the seed germinates.
Pine bark mulch works well in shrub or flower beds and under evergreen trees. It insulates and helps moderate the soil temperature. It blocks direct sunlight, which helps to keep the soil from becoming crusty and compacted, which can inhibit water absorption. As it decomposes it releases acid into the soil so it’s a great mulch to use around acid-loving plants. It also releases aluminum into the soil so it’s a perfect mulch to use around hydrangeas. Pine bark is slow to decompose so it lasts a long time.
Pine straw has some of the same benefits as pine bark, but its needles will naturally interlock, making it very stable in heavy rain, so it’s better suited than pine bark to use on sloped areas and will help you control soil erosion.
Wood chip mulch is a popular option in landscape design. It’s available in a number of different colors, and it works well on slopes and under trees.
Cedar wood chip mulch has the added benefit of repelling insects.
All wood chips are slow to decompose, so they last a long time, but wood chip mulch can leach nitrogen from your soil, so it’s a good idea to add fertilizer once or twice per season.
Inorganic mulch is best suited for walkways and heavy traffic areas.
Landscape rock is available in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and textures which gives you a lot of design options.
Shredded rubber mulch is made from recycled tires and is widely used as ground cover at playgrounds. It provides a little shock absorption and helps to make play areas safer.
You can help your landscape look its very best with the right mulch. Proper mulching can also help your shrub and flowerbeds look fuller and your vegetable gardens grow a healthier crop.