Mulch is an organic or inorganic material that is used as a protective cover on soil to retain moisture, reduce erosion, provide nutrients, and reduce the growth of weeds and seed germination. When mulching in gardens and other landscaping, it mimics the covers of leaves that is on forest floors. Not only does it provide these benefits, but also the benefit of an attractive landscaped appearance.
Organic mulches are made up of natural substances and decompose, while inorganic mulches do not decompose. A variety of materials are used as organic mulch, which include grass clippings, leaves, hay, shredded bark, woodchips, kitchen scraps, and even animal manure. Some forms of inorganic mulch include stone, landscape fabric, and plastic. In deciding which material of mulch to use, take into consideration the availability, cost, appearance, and the different effects it may have on the soil.
One of the most popular mulches is wood based mulch. Bark mulch provides a solid barrier against moisture evaporation, but comes in larger chips, which decompose slower than others. Shredded bark will trap in the moisture longer, decompose quicker, and add nutrients to the soil as well. Cedar mulch, the cream of the crop mulch, has natural oils that repel insects, which is why it is more costly. Colored mulch is composed of wood chips or shredded wood that has been dyed. This mulch is used more-so for the attractive landscaped appearance.
Colored mulch is widely available in three colors: red, black, and brown. Though brown mulch is somewhat of a compromise and not as “loud” as red mulch, the elements won’t rob you of it so quickly since the brown is dyed in. If you’re looking for some contrast in your lawn, red mulch would be a great consideration.
Mulching is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy landscape and healthy plants. It can be pretty hard to believe that something so simple as mulch can solve so many gardening problems and offer so many advantages. Mulching has been around for many years, but we are just now starting to fully understand all it does for our plants.
Ashleigh Argo, Office Assistant of Arning Lawns