What is the best type of mulch for landscaping?
With so many mulch choices on the market, it can be challenging to find the right one for your yard. You want to choose one that is aesthetically pleasing and functional. Mulch is just not about making your flower beds look beautiful. You want to choose a product that will protect your plants and soil. Let’s look at the drawbacks and benefits of the various mulches for your landscape.
Mulch for Your Yard
Mulch is used to cover the surface of your soil, and it can include organic or inorganic materials. These products are used to cool down the ground, eliminate weeds, keep moisture in the soil, and add some aesthetic appeal to your flower beds and gardens. With the right mulch, you can even improve the fertility of your soil. With so many choices, you might have difficulty finding the right products. Before you add mulch, you need to know if you want organic or inorganic materials for your yard.
Pine bark nuggets are a common choice for mulch. This mulch can come in a variety of sizes, including everything from mini to jumbo nuggets. These nuggets are the by-product of the paper and lumber industries. Pine park can last for a very long time, and it can take a few months for it to break down to enrich the soil. If you live in an area with a lot of rainwater, you might want to think again about pine bark. Heavy rains can cause the nuggets to float or wash away. These nuggets will need plenty of maintenance to get raked back into the beds. While pine bark nuggets do have some benefits, they might not be suitable for areas with heavy flowing water during a rainstorm.
Another mulch similar to pine bark is shredded hardwood. However, these mulches are less likely to get washed away like pine bark. You can quickly spread this mulch throughout your yard, and it is very long-lasting. When these mulches break down, the soil around the plants will become more alkaline. If that will be a problem for your plants, you might need to add sulfur or acid fertilizer to the soil. Unfortunately, hardwood mulch has a tendency to compact and can block those crucial nutrients from reaching the ground.
Pine needles are a natural-looking mulch for your yard. This mulch is lightweight, and it is an excellent choice for plants that need acidic soils. These mulches are harvested from the floor of pine forests. Many people consider them to be a renewable product. However, pine needles do break down slower than other organic materials. As the needles age, they will turn a silver-gray color, and some people might not want that look for their yards. When you purchase a bale of pine needles, the sizes can vary and may contain leaves and sticks in the bundle.
Colored wood mulch is another product made from recycled wood, but it can contain some questionable additives, such as arsenic. While the EPA outlawed arsenic, some old pallets may still contain these additives that can enter your flower beds. For those wanting to add colored mulch to your yard, you should choose a product with raw lumber rather than recycled wood materials. You might be worried about the dyes in the mulch, but they are considered safe and will not harm your flowers. If you do use wood mulch, you will want to keep it away from your home. Termites love to inhabit wood mulches, and you do not want to give them a clear path to your building.
Manure and compost are some of the most popular options for mulch. These materials can improve soil structure, and they can hold nutrients and water. If you are looking for a product that inhibits weed growth, then you might need to choose another mulch. Weeds can still flourish with manure and compost. For those using their own compost, you want to make sure there are no herbicides in your mulching bin.
Shredded rubber is an excellent choice for mulching, but it can be cost-prohibitive for many people. This rubber does not breakdown like other materials. In addition to that, the color will remain for several years, and it tends to stay in place. Rubber is only used for aesthetic purposes, and it does not add any benefits to the soil. Many people will use rubber in playground areas to absorb impacts from falls.
Landscape fabric is often used in addition to other mulches. The layers are perfect for stopping weeds, but it can prevent nutrients from reaching the soil. If you allow dirt to accumulate on top of the layers, weeds can develop on the surface.
Gravel, rocks, and stones are another great inorganic mulch for your yard. For the most part, they don’t break down and will stay in place. However, small gravel and rock can sink into the soil, and it will require you to add more mulch. With large rock mulches, it can be challenging to remove the materials or even add plants to your yard. Stone mulches are known to be less effective in reducing water loss as it can increase soil evaporation.
While many materials can be used for mulch, there are some that you should not apply in your yard. Wood shavings, sawdust, and unaged wood chips are some of those products. When they break down, these materials can consume a large amount of nitrogen. In turn, your plants will be deprived of these critical nutrients. You want to choose a commercial wood product that has been aged and deemed safe to add to your yard.
Mulching is essential for your yard, and you want to choose the right product for your soil. Charlestown Landscaping can help with all your mulching needs. We will find the best products and apply them to your flower beds and gardens. You can get expert help from us for your next landscaping project.
If you want to schedule a consultation with Charlestown Landscaping, make sure to take a few minutes and fill out the contact form.