To Mulch or Not to Mulch

Mulch can be a beautiful addition to your flower beds, but what kind should you use and should you use any at all? There are so many types to choose from that one’s head begins to spin when walking the aisles of the local Home Depot. There is shredded bark, pine bark chips and even compost. How are we supposed to know which one is the best for our landscaping plan?

Advantages

According to Better Homes & Gardens,there are many advantages to adding mulch to your gardens. “In the summer, mulch helps the soil hold moisture so you don’t have to water your garden as often. In the hot sun, soil also tends to dry out faster and harden. Mulch will help with this by protecting the soil from direct sunlight.”

Did you know mulch can also prevent weeds from creeping up in your beautiful flower beds? The addition of mulch blocks light from openings in the soil, therefore thwarting weed germination.

Types of Mulch

Now comes the hard part, deciding which type of mulch you need! There is shredded bark, straw, pine or cedar bark chips, compost and even stones and river rock.

Here are the differences as described in Better Homes & Gardens:

Shredded bark is one of the most common and least expensive types of mulch. It comes from a variety of sources, including cedar trees. Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly.

Straw mulch has a beautiful golden color that looks great in the garden. It’s also a bit slower to break down than leaves or grass clippings.

Compost looks like soil, except it’s darker, so it really sets off plants well. This mulch material breaks down quickly but adds to your soil structure the fastest. Plus, it’s inexpensive; you can create your own rich compost for free.

These bark nuggets are slower to break down than shredded bark, but they don’t stay in place as well. They’re not a good mulch choice for slopes or other areas where they may be washed away by heavy rain.

Stone and river rock don’t break down in the landscape because they’re inorganic materials, however they don’t need to be reapplied every year. It is important to remember they don’t improve your soil over time. Take caution when using stone as a mulch—stones tend to get really hot. Stones are often used as mulch in cactus and rock gardens.

Of course if you are unsure about the best mulch for your yard, call Edward at Stone Creek Landscaping and let him help you design a dream yard. Stone Creek is your complete landscape solution regardless of your property’s current condition.  Whether you’re looking for maintenance, design and install, or just a splash of seasonal color, our skilled and professional crews are here to help.

 

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