Mulch helps improve your garden’s soil quality and slow the growth of weeds. One of your goals for learning about types of mulching is to make a garden or landscaping space look more appealing and promote plant growth.
But in addition, mulch applied to the soil helps to reduce air and sunlight exposure. Types of mulching include wood bark/chips, dried leaves, gravel, and even rubber mulch. The mulching exercise should be less daunting than what most garden owners think.
Here’s everything you should know about this process.
What Are the Reasons for Mulching?
What is mulching and its advantages? Mulching can be a means to simplify your gardening tasks. You’ll worry less about the garden soil getting lost due to wind or water erosion.
Furthermore, organic mulches such as wood chips/barks and dried leaves improve soil fertility when decomposed.
Consider mulching if you want to add texture and color to your garden’s design.
Mulches help regulate the soil temperature when it’s extremely cold or hot, or when there are sudden fluctuations. Count on them to minimize water loss, improve water absorption, and slow evaporation rates.
Your garden will require less maintenance as these benefits come into play.
What Mulch Types Are Ideal for a Garden?
Varieties of mulch made of wood waste include brown mulch and black mulch. They qualify as aged organic mulch since they encourage plant growth by continually decomposing and adding nutrients to your garden.
You can buy bagged mulch from many local locations–just search, “bulk mulch near me” to find your nearest dealers. However, you need to be aware that poor-quality mulches can contain molds, diseases, and even tiny weed seeds. The best prices can also give you the most headaches, so it’s a good idea to purchase your mulch from reputable mulch dealers rather than big box stores.
If your garden or landscape space is small, then backs and wheelbarrows will work for you. If you have a larger area to cover, then you may need a pickup, or perhaps have your mulch delivered in bulk.
Fresh organic mulch and stones qualify as types of mulches, too. The fresh organic ones, which include wood barks and chips, help control weeds and enrich the soil. They can improve soil fertility over a longer time frame than ordinary mulches. You may also consider the use of stones to prevent splash erosion or to improve your yard’s appearance.
Some gardeners use cocoa bean mulch because of its appealing chocolate odor and deep brown hue. Cocoa bean mulch varieties are tricky to apply to the garden and need to be replenished frequently. Using a thick layer can make the soil retain lots of water. But be warned that dogs can fall sick when they consume this mulch.
Expect the color of the fresh organic mulches to turn gray within a year of sunlight exposure. If your concern is color, you may want to get customized organic mulch.
This type of mulching comes coated with vegetable dyes of multiple colors and can last for up to three years. Stone mulches also come in different colors that don’t fade.
Which Mulch Types Last Longer?
Decomposition takes time on organic mulches utilizing larger chunks than those with smaller sizes. Bark mulch extracted from trees like pine lasts longer than shredded wood from cypress or cedar.
Always remember that instead of eliminating maintenance, mulch reduces it. Replenish your organic mulches after every two or three years.
Mulching doesn’t offer a direct solution to stopping weed growth. However, when applied properly over the soil, mulches help prevent weed seeds buried inside from sprouting or growing. Burying cardboard or layers of newspaper beneath the mulch will help further deter weed growth. Just know that when the time comes for some weed removal, these materials can complicate things a little.
Note that the land will still accommodate more weed seeds blown by the wind. So combine your chosen types of mulching along with other weed control mechanisms for the best outcomes.
Where Should You Place the Mulch?
Consult an expert on the right places for mulching. One bit of advice you’ll get is that organic mulches retain lots of moisture and may encourage plant pests. Organic mulches aren’t ideal for damp or low areas.
Combine rock mulches with organic mulches since hot rocks speed up water loss in soil and burn shallow roots.
What’s the Recommended Thickness for Applying Organic Mulch?
For water retention and weed control, apply about 4 inches of organic mulch to the soil. Use a 5 to 6-inch depth around plants with shallow roots. Always pull back your mulch from the plant bases to prevent rot.
A six-inch thickness helps prevent woody stems in your garden from rotting. This thickness can work well if your yard lies on a slope. The mulches will mat together while promoting water retention and preventing erosion.
To calculate the amount of mulch needed, multiply your garden’s length and width and divide the result by three. Such a formula gives the volume (cubic feet) of the mulches required to cover a 4-inch depth.
Seek clarification from an expert for a garden bed with uneven dimensions. (You can find a free online mulch calculator here.)
Does Mulch Require Maintenance?
Mulch maintenance involves pulling weeds and removing debris. Expect to have debris like leaves scattered on the mulches if trees or shrubs are in a nearby location. A leaf vacuum helps suck them up, but even better, you can use a blower to blow them away.
Can Landscape Fabric Work If Placed Under Mulch?
Landscape fabric is best for use on stone mulches. Besides preventing gravel from sinking, the material allows you to remove stone mulches. Count on it to slow down weed growth and allow air/water to penetrate the soil.
Don’t use impermeable plastic since it hinders air and water absorption.
The downside of landscape fabric is that it sometimes makes weeding activities hard to perform. You’ll find it difficult to pull weeds that are rooting into the fabric. It tends to be best to avoid using this material on organic mulches for a healthier garden.
What Are the Mulching Concerns a Garden Owner Should Know?
Too much sun exposure on stone mulches can affect shallow roots and plant stems. With these types of mulching, expect to have pests such as cutworms, earwigs, or slugs lurking around both inorganic and organic mulches.
Applying a thin mulch layer helps reduce these bugs.
Organic mulch varieties tend to hold lots of water during the rainy season and can make your garden look muddy.
Stone mulch or landscaping stones may prevent rainwater from reaching the soil surface. They hinder seeds from germinating or young plants from growing.
Give Your Garden the Aesthetics it Deserves Through Mulching
Gardens contribute to your property’s appeal when maintained.
The various types of mulching are among the best activities that improve the appearance and growth of garden plants. Applying mulch to your garden can help you control weeds and reduce water loss.
Southwest Stone Supply serves professional contractors and homeowners with various landscaping products. They include paving stones, landscaping stones, and bulk mulches.
Our mulch varieties include organic, vegetable dyed, and pet safe. Use the form or email addresses on our contact page to schedule a free consultation.
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