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Selecting Landscape Mulch Types

By Edited Jan 20, 2016 1 0

The Purpose of Mulch

One of the best things you can do to save a great deal of time and energy in your landscape and garden, is to spread a thick layer of mulch over the exposed soil surfaces. You can save a tremendous amount of water with the use of mulch. It also acts as a great weed barrier.

Shredded Bark Mulch
Shredded Bark Mulch:

One of the least expensive and most popular choices in organic mulch is Shredded Bark.

Cedar trees are one of the most commonly used sources for shredded bark, but it definitely is not the only source.

Since this mulch holds together rather well, and breaks down somewhat slowly it is a common alternative for sloped banks.

Also you will discover that some of the Shredded Bark supplies result as a byproduct from other industries, and they're considered very environmentally friendly.

Grass Clippings:

Grass clippings is another notable free source of mulch. Grass can additionally cause matting as well as rotting and odors. To prevent this, spread the grass in thin layers and make sure it is pre-dried. Another notable feature of grass mulch is it supplies required nitrogen nutrients to the soil.


Another organic mulch option you should investigate is straw. Straw breaks down a bit slower than does grass, and it has a great-looking golden hue.

One thing you should be cautious of though. Straw frequently has weed seeds intermixed with it, and you have to be cautious that you are not making a bigger weed problem than you are trying to prevent.

Leaf Mulch
Using Shredded Leaf Mulch:

This is a fantastic way to recycle your fall leaves. Rather than disposing the leaves, they can become your fall mulch and used winter protect your plants.

A couple things that are favorable about using leaves as mulch is they decompose in less than a year, and they supply nutrients to the plants.

Be sure you shred your leaves prior to using them as mulch, to prevent matting of the leaves.

Compost Mulch:

Compost that you make yourself, is one of the best mulches that iyu can use. Compost is one of the best organic mulches you can add to your beds to produce a lot of nutrients to your plants. Also, with its dark color, it sets off the plants very nicely.

Pine Straw Mulch or Pine Needles:

This mulch is frequently used around acid-loving plants, and is another outstanding organic option. It is also known as pine straw.

This is a popular option for difficult slopes as it holds its position very well, and breaks down relatively slowly. Blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other conifers are popular planting options in this type of mulch.

Using Pine Bark Nuggets as Mulch:

The biggest complaint with Pine Bark Nuggets is that they don't stay in position very well, especially during periods of heavy rain. Therefore it is recommended that they not be used on sloped areas. They are available in a variety of sizes and are slow to break down. Smaller nuggets will break down quicker than larger nuggets.

Wood Chip Mulch:

Another notable free source of mulching material is wood chips. You can either chip you own or get them from local tree trimming companies.

They decompose somewhat slowly and will give you an excellent weed barrier. If they are new chips, they can rob your soil of needed nitrogen. They additionally can raise the PH of your soil because they add acid to the soil.

Using Cocoa Hulls for Mulch:

Cocoa Bean Hulls will give you one of the richest looking mulches you can get. It is additionally one of the more expensive options.

Many gardeners justify the extra expense because of its deep, rich color, chocolate fragrance, and very long-lasting qualities. However if you have pets, be aware that the Cocoa Bean Hulls may be poisonous to dogs and cats if ingested.

River Rock and Gravel Mulches:

Since rock materials do not break down, if this mulch is installed properly, it will never need replacement.

Negatives include: It is troublesome to dig up and split perennials, and because the rock does not break down, no nutrients are added to your soil.

Recycled Rubber Mulch
Shredded Rubber

As rubber already exists as a natural waste product, it does not necessitate destruction of trees for its manufacture.

Some of the features of this landscape mulch are it is somewhat heavy, and stays in place on sloped beds and embankments.

Also, it stays looking fantastic, and keeps its new color, and it does not break down. Additionally, since it does not decay or compact, you can spread it 1.5 inches thick vs. 3" minimum that is required for organic mulch types.



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