A Closer Look at Mulch Types
Every experienced gardener understands the importance of much. It can prevent weeds from growing, keep the soil from drying out, and, depending on the type, can enrich the soil with nutrients. Some people also use mulch to beautify their landscape. Whatever your reason for using mulch, it’s important to know all the options available. Mulch comes in organic and inorganic variants, and we’ll take a closer look at them below. Organic Mulch Organic mulch decomposes over time, adding nutrients to the soil. They are a great option if you want mulch that’s great for the environment, but you’ll need to replace them over time as they decompose. Here are the top examples of organic mulch: Wood Chips Wood chips are inexpensive, decorative mulch materials that are great at improving the soil’s moisture retention, reducing weed growth, and insulating the soil. You can buy wood chips in large bags at your local home improvement store. Manufacturers dye them in different colors and treat them with herbicides and chemicals that make them less flammable. You should use wood chips as much in flat terrains that don’t get a lot of traffic because wind and water runoff can move them. Straw Mulch If you have a newly seeded lawn or vegetable garden, then straw is an excellent choice of organic mulch to go with. First, it’s attractive for beneficial insects like spiders that can feed on pests. Secondly, they can help protect the lower leaves of vegetable plants from soil-borne diseases. For seeded lawns, straw mulch can protect the seeds from birds and rodents and also keep them from being washed away by rain. Many gardeners also love straw mulch because it decomposes slowly. You’ll only need to spread the mulch once within the growing season. And when you want to remove the mulch and make room for more vegetables, you can easily rake up the straw or work them into the soil. Shredded Bark Mulch You should choose shredded bark mulch if you love the benefits of wood chips but don’t like the easily-washed-way size. Shredded bark mulch is less likely to get washed away by rain. The manufacturers make them from different trees, but you can be sure of a uniform look. Shredded bark mulch decomposes slowly, so it’s an excellent choice if you want a low-maintenance mulch option. However, the material is likely to absorb nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. Therefore, it’s best to combine it with some fertilizer if you’re growing any nitrogen-loving plants. Be careful when handling shredded bark mulch, though. The slivers can cause injuries if you don’t wear gloves. Grass Clippings Grass clippings are perhaps the most widely used type of organic mulch. They are free and provide you with an alternative way of utilizing your garden waste. However, the high water content means that the clippings will decompose quickly. The smell of the decomposing clippings also means they are best for areas not too close to your hangout spots or the walkway. You can also trust grass clippings to suppress weeds, but be careful with how much you use per time. The clippings can mat together, making it harder for plant roots to receive moisture. Therefore, you should apply only one thin layer per time, replenishing the supply as it decomposes. Inorganic Mulch Inorganic mulch will not add any nutrients to the soil across your garden and landscape. However, they are an excellent choice of mulch for certain situations. For example, they are the perfect choice if you’re looking for ultra-long-lasting, low-maintenance mulch options. Shredded Rubber Mulch This type of mulch is the product of recycled car tires. They are long-lasting and can come in different colors. However, you have to weigh your options carefully before adding it to your garden or landscape. Rubber mulch will help your soil retain moisture. It’s also great at preventing weed growth. However, it won’t decompose, and you’ll have a hard time removing it as you can’t till it into the ground. It’s always best to use rubber mulch in parts of your landscape where they can remain for a long time. Another thing to remember is that rubber mulch is highly flammable, so it’s not a great option around your barbecue spot. Rocks and Pebbles Rock mulch will prevent soil compaction and stop weed growth. It will also make the area less attractive for pests like termites, and you can trust it to withstand wind and water runoff. Get Professional Guidance Not sure about the right type of mulch to use? Call Lawns & Beyond Landscaping today at (724) 201-2764 to schedule a consultation.