An expansive variety of materials fall into the "mulch" category; however, all have one aim: ameliorating soil conditions. In addition, utilizing mulch is simple and can bring quick results - perfect for budding green thumbs or old-hand growers alike!
Mulch is a highly beneficial material that provides shelter from temperature changes, holds in moisture, suppresses weed growth, prevents soil compaction, and safeguards delicate plants from harm due to manual or machine weeding.
Not only does mulch offer these valuable advantages, but it can also give any planting bed an attractive look of neatness and care. Generally, homeowners have two primary choices regarding mulch: organic and inorganic.
Replenishing the soil with organic mulches, such as hardwood chips, softwood chips, bark, evergreen needles, and leaves, can improve fertility levels in the ground. This is due to their decomposing properties that enhance aeration and drainage over time.
While it’s a must to regularly replenish organic mulches for them to remain effective, they are a preferred choice amongst landscape professionals because of all their numerous benefits.
In addition to these materials, compost mixes of newspaper and cardboard are available, which will further improve soil structure when worked into the earth.
When it comes to mulching, inorganic materials such as rock, stone, rubber chips, and landscape fabrics are your go-to options since they do not decompose quickly. These man-made products offer an excellent way for decorative use while keeping weeds at bay.
The advantage of using rocks or stones is that their heat absorption capabilities can help warm the soil during early spring and aid in fruiting/vegetable growth; however, this feature could be detrimental if there's excessive sun exposure during drier conditions.
Both hardwood and softwood bark, chips, and nuggets—byproducts of the timber and paper industries—are generally air-dried or dyed red or black before they are packed into bags for sale.
Hardwood is ideal when used around trees and bushes and in perennial beds, while softwoods (predominantly derived from pine) should be primarily utilized near larger shrubs or trees.
Pine mulch has a somewhat higher acidic level than other organic mulches, so it requires a longer decomposition time than those alternatives.
Before you embark on your journey to the home improvement center, check with your local municipality first. You may be surprised to discover that many offer freshly ground tree mulch at no cost!
However, remember that this new material has yet to be aged or dried; thus, it should only be used for pathways since its decomposition releases a high amount of nitrogen from the soil.
There is no need to run around searching for expensive organic mulch, as you can make your own at home with nothing more than grass clippings or shredded leaves.
Leaf mulch is perfect for usage in garden beds and near trees and shrubs, while thin layers of grass clippings may be scattered across vegetable patches and perennial fields before being turned into the soil by the end of the growth period.
However, take care not to blanket these areas too thickly; if so, matting will occur. Furthermore, ensure that you do not collect lawn cuttings from lands dosed with herbicides or pesticides - this could prove hazardous!
Of course, there are many more kinds of mulch other than the five we picked for you. But worry not. At Main Street Mulch, we carry a massive selection of materials suited to all your gardening needs. Whether you are looking for something natural or man-made, we have it all!
And better yet, our friendly team can even deliver the goods right to your doorstep with no extra charge. So contact us today and see how we can help you create your ideal outdoor living space!