Mulching is a good way to protect your soil against the harsh elements like scorching sunlight or heavy rains. It also safeguards against soil compaction which can be harmful for your plants. Mulching covers imperfections on your landscape and it is also a good way to safeguard moisture and water. The additional protection that mulching provides is a good way to keep your plants protected all throughout the changing seasons.
Mulching offers so many benefits to your plants, but how do you know which is the right type of mulch for your garden. There is a variety of mulch to choose from, and it’s hard to pick the appropriate one for your landscape. Basically, every yard or landscape has a different need when it comes to mulching. Each type of mulch has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the mulches that you can choose from to improve the health and quality of your plants:
- Rock Mulch – This is the most permanent type of mulch. Rock mulches include gravel, pebbles, or larger stones. It hides any imperfections on your landscaping and greatly decreases the chance of growing weeds in your garden. If done correctly (with landscape fabrics), rock mulch can last for years with only a few minimal touch ups. However, rock mulches are not good in retaining moisture, and thus must be avoided in hot, arid areas.
- Bark Mulch – This type of mulch are made from barks of hardwood trees. It is the closest thing you can get to natural mulch. One thing to remember about using bark mulch is that it tends to make the soil more alkaline over time. Take this into consideration especially if your plants thrive more in acidic environment. A way to counter this is to use an acid-based fertilizer.
- Pine needles – Pine needles adds to the aesthetic of your landscape, as they tend to look very natural. Unlike bark mulch, pine needles create an acidic environment upon their decay, which is good news if your plant thrives in acidic environment. Pine needles take longer to decay compared to most mulches, which lessens the need to change it on a regular basis. However, when they do decay, the result is unsightly for some, so better make sure to change the mulch when you notice them turning grayish.
- Colored wood – This mulch comes from wood that have been pressure-treated to give them color. When thinking of using colored wood for your mulch, ask your supplier where they sourced it. Pressure-treated wood is not all organic, some may have harmful additives like Arsenic, which may harm your plants and destroy the integrity of your soil. Since this is also wood-based, make sure that your mulch does not come in contact with any parts of your home, especially wooden sidings. Wood-based mulch attracts termite colonies, which may infest your home as well.
- Pine Bark Nuggets – This type of mulch is more suitable for areas which is relatively dry. The bark nuggets are lightweight, and are easily carried by water during heavy rains, so it’s more efficiently used for dry areas. They come in varying sizes, and they last long, making replacement less frequent.
As a rule of thumb -steer clear from mulch made from sawdust, un-aged wood chips or wood shavings. On decay, these mulches compete for nutrients with your plant by consuming nitrogen.
Ultimately, the type of mulch depends on your area, the plants in your landscaping, and the aesthetic that you are going for. The best thing to do is to contact your trusted landscaper for advice – nothing beats the experts when it comes to taking care of your lawn. For your mulching needs, contact Springfield Gardens Lawn and Landscape today. (417) 882-7800