Mulch is used to keep the soil moist, control weeds, maintain a cool environment, prevent frost heaving in the winter, and make the garden bed more pleasant. Mulches that are organic also aid in the structure of the soil, drainage, and nutrient-holding capacity as they decompose.
Types of Organic Mulch
Mulch that is not manufactured from an inorganic substance will decompose and need to be replenished, but it will also improve the structure and organic content of your soil. The more dry and woody the mulch, the slower it decomposes and the fewer nutrients it delivers to the soil. Some organic mulch includes:
- Bark, Shredded or Chipped
- Pine Needles
- Grass Clippings
- Shredded Leaves
Knowing the source of mulch is essential, since it may contain viable weed seeds or chemicals. The last thing you want to do is spread a mulch that will begin sprouting and add to your workload – or contaminate your plants with chemicals.
Bark mulches are best utilized around trees, shrubs, and garden beds, while grass clippings are ideal for weeding control. Shredded leaves are nature’s favorite mulch and can be used in anyplace since it is free of charge as a form of mulch. Straw and salt hay are popular mulches for vegetable gardens.
Types of Synthetic and Inorganic Mulch
Mulches made of synthetic or inorganic materials do a fantastic job of retaining moisture and suppressing weeds. They don’t provide any nutrients to the soil, but they don’t decay quickly or need to be replaced as often as organic mulches. Some synthetic mulch includes:
- Black Plastic
- Landscape Fabric
Around foundation plantings and other shrubs and trees, plastic and landscape fabric are excellent alternatives. Plastic, on the other hand, becomes extremely hot in the summer and, besides suffocating weed seeds, it can also destroy all of the soil’s beneficial properties. Gravel and stone mulches are excellent for Mediterranean herb gardens and rain gardens where drainage is required or when plants require a little more heat.
Which mulch you choose depends on the function and aesthetic you are looking for. At Legarden Designs, we can help you create one! We also provide seasonal reviews and yearly walkthroughs. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer!